Serigrafia: Constructing the Chicana/o Imaginary | Link TV
Serigrafia: Constructing the Chicana/o Imaginary
In partnership with Boom Magazine Boom: A Journal of California is a new, cross-disciplinary publication that explores the history, culture, arts, politics, and society of California.
This article was originally published in Boom Magazine.
In 1996, the Chicano printmaker Malaquias Montoya spoke to a group of students at Casa Cuauhtémoc, a theme dorm on the University of California, Davis, campus, where I was a first-year student and resident. Malaquias showed us a photograph of a mural that he had painted in Tijuana for the Festival de la Raza ten years earlier. It had taken only a few days to paint the mural, he said, but much longer than that to learn about the environment, meet with residents in the nearby community, and talk with community leaders, activists, educators, and cultural workers before a drop of paint was put on the wall.
Malaquias was a towering figure to Chicana/o students on campus. Later, in a class that I took with him, Malaquias became impassioned when he showed us drawings and prints by Ester Hernandez and Yolanda Lopez. It was powerfully moving to see him humbled by their works. I now understand that this emotion was an expression of respect for artists who dedicate themselves to producing art within the framework of a movement.
When I was a student, some Chicanos, especially those who were most politically active on campus, had very strict notions of what constituted the category "Chicano." The Chicana/o community membership had rigid boundaries defined by politics, dress, and language. Malaquias's work was liberating because it crossed boundaries and borders. What unified his work was a commitment to speak against injustice and to make images and ideas accessible to a broad community.
The posters on view in "Serigrafía" -- a traveling exhibition of some of the most prominent printmakers to have emerged from the Chicano movement and the development of a Chicana/Chicano consciousness in California -- show that Chicana/o identity has been fluid ever since the initial Chicano manifesto, "El Plan de Santa Barbara," was written in 1969. The posters give us a view into an artistic space in which Chicana/o identity and consciousness have been imagined, explored, constructed, expressed, and challenged while simultaneously serving community advocacy and engagement.
I remember looking at the images projected on a screen in Malaquias's darkened classroom when I was a student and wondering why I had not seen them before, why they were not part of my upbringing. Today, as a faculty member in the Chicana/o Studies Program at UC Davis, the questions I most often hear from students in our classes are the same: "Why didn't I know this earlier? Why wasn't I taught this before I arrived on campus?" Why did I have to come to UC Davis, 400 miles from home, to learn about who I am? The knowledge and history of who I am and where I come from rightfully belong to me.
These images represent my family, my mother, my uncles, cousins, grandparents, and community. These works are not simply mirrors for their likenesses; they are images that transform their likenesses to represent gods, heroes, leaders, monuments, myths, and inspirations for action.
"Serigrafía" is at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through 20 April 2014, and then travels to the San Francisco Public Library from 20 July 20 through 7 September 2014. This piece is excerpted from a longer essay by Carlos Francisco Jackson available at boomcalifornia.com.
The Yurok people care for all of their family members, and their kin — including condors and salmon — reciprocate the care.
Places like Taylor Yard give us a window to explore ways to balance the city's critical needs for green space, livable space and climate change strategies.
All around the United States is a 100-mile border zone where one can be searched and one's things seized. Policies way beyond what the constitution allows is regularly implemented. Artists drew on select sites. Here's what they realized.
Created by policymakers in the 1940s, the border zone extends 100 miles inland from the nation’s land and sea boundaries and houses nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population. It's also where the 4th amendment rights of the people have been subverted.
- 1 of 63
- next ›
From the typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to the Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. Learn how the World War II incarceration affected their lives and creations.
"Artbound" looks at the dinnerware of Heath Ceramics and a design that has stood the test of time since the company began in the late 1940’s.
Inspired by Oaxacan traditions, Dia de Los Muertos was brought to L.A. in the '70s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity. It has since grown in proportions and is celebrated around the world.
Gospel music would not be what it is today if not for the impact left by Los Angeles in the late 60’s and early 70’s, a time defined by political movements across the country.
A behind-the-scenes look at the contemporary art world through the eyes of a legendary art dealer and curator, Jeffrey Deitch.
- 1 of 11
- next ›