Oscar Romero RIP by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero RIP

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, California, Capitalism, Cartoonista, Central American, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Mural, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Posters, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Globalization, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Los Angeles, Movimiento, Nepantla, Politcal Cartoon, Politics, Religion/Spirituality, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

The Politics of Aztlán in Ignacio M. García’s Chicanismo: The Forging of a Militant Ethos among Mexican Americans

Chicanismo

Chicanismo

Through the wonders of social media, namely Twitter, I have been sharing and recommending hundreds of Chicana/o books and film titles amongst my “followers” for the last four years in order to promote Chicana/o literacy, encourage students to major or minor in Chicana/o Studies, to dispel the myth that Chicanas/os are not creating scholarly and literary works by and for Chicanas/os, and lastly to facilitate an expansive list of works for people to search out these titles in their local bookstores and libraries for personal reading enjoyment or academic research purposes.

Knowledge is our weapon. Knowledge is power. Specifically, knowledge is Chicano Power.

Chicano Power, then, demands that we work towards dismantling racist and sexist institutional structures that negate our human rights as Indigenous peoples. Knowing our history, also, forces us to challenge false assumptions about Chicanas/os that are falsely spread in academic circles and in social media spaces.

We have been omitted from the historical record, and when we do appear we are depicted as passive, docile, and only participating in the social landscape as a result of outside assistance. We are never allowed to exist as original inhabitants. Nearly every time the Chicana/o-Mexicana/o experience is discussed, especially on social media, it is done thru a racist filter that usually describes some outside ethnic/racial group discovering or influencing us, thus revoking our autonomy, sovereignty, and agency as a people.

And so what I wanted to do for this particular blog space was to highlight several Chicana/o books and film titles that our people might find of interest and meaningful as they search for their own knowledge and self-determination. These reviews and those of other contributors are written from a Chicana/o-Mexicana/o frame of reference.

If you are interested in sharing a written review of your favorite Chicana/o book, film, art exhibit, etc. please feel free to contact via email at clshc@me.com – Resistance Through Knowledge, one book at time.

c/s
cultural sovereignty
——

Under the leadership of Dr. Mario T. García, the Chicana/o Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has hosted and organized a bi-annual conference entitled, Chicano Power!: The Sal Castro Memorial Conference on the Emerging Historiography of the Chicano Movement. The first conference was held in 2012, a second one was held in 2014 with an upcoming conference scheduled for 2016.

The importance of this Chicano Movement conference cannot be overstated, especially as it gives agency and voice to an emerging Chicana/o intelligentsia who possess the scholarly tools to analyze and synthesize the history and legacy of the Chicano Movement while dispelling myths about the political activism of Chicanas/os.

In recent years, the Chicano Movement (1965-1975) has received much-needed and overdue scholarly attention with the publication of several outstanding monographs that highlight the accomplishments and complexities of movement organizations and individuals. [As an aside, in a previous post on Expedition Through Aztlán by David Sánchez, I listed a few of the relevant studies currently available].

To be sure, there is much to be said about the most significant political movement ever undertaken by Chicanas/os in the United States. Yet, nearly 40 years after the “conclusion” of the Chicano Movement, Chicana/o scholars, students, and activists continue to grapple with how to study and interpret the movement. [See, for example, Rodolfo Acuña’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (1988) who writes: “Many Chicanos have incorrectly labeled the second half of the 1960s as the birth of the Chicano movement.” Also see Ernesto Chávez’s “¡Mi Raza Primero” (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978 (2002) who claims that the Chicano Movement failed because of a “bankrupt” cultural nationalism that, he argues, was conspicuously narrow-minded, homophobic and sexist towards Chicanas].

The polemical struggle underscores why answers that attempt to definitively define the movement remain elusive to this day. For example: what is the Chicano Movement? when did the Chicano Movement begin and end (did it)?; was the Chicano Movement located within the politics of reformism or radicalism?; was the Chicano Movement a struggle for self-determination or integration?; was the Chicano Movement centered solely on the “identity problematic” and/or the search for an historical past?; and was the Chicano Movement just another phase in the history of Chicana/o resistance? Ultimately, how does one measure the legacy of the Chicano Movement?

At the heart of these questions, and its manifold answers, lies the work of Ignacio M. García’s Chicanismo: The Forging of a Militant Ethos among Mexican Americans (1997).

Ignacio M. García argues that the Chicano Movement was not a quest for identity nor a spontaneous eruption of activity. Rather, the Chicano Movement was a radical ideological and cultural transformation of Chicanos, whose primary goal was to liberate Chicanas/os from “racism, poverty, political powerlessness, historical neglect, and internal defeatism” (133).

Written in a partial-ethnographic style, García seeks to (re)interpret the intellectual development of the political consciousness or “ethos” that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s among Chicanas/os. The “ethos” or politics of Aztlán, as García describes it, was the “body of ideas, strategies, tactics, and rationalizations that a community uses to respond to external challenges” (4). As such, the Chicano Movement was both a series of events as well as a series of phases.

Although García does not follow a chronological framework, he does divide his work into seven sections that provide historical insight into the movement:

– Introduction
– Rejecting the Liberal Agenda
– Reinterpreting the Chicano Experience
– Chicanismo: An Affirmation of Race and Class
– Strategies for Aztlán: Creating a Cultural Polity
– The Movement in Robstown
– The Ethos and its Legacy

Even though Ignacio García would contend that the Chicano Movement was not necessarily a quest for identity, he does recognize the development of a “cultural-political taxonomy” that gave meaning to, among other things, the term Chicano, as well as the activist philosophy that would come to be better known as chicanismo.

García sees the Chicano Movement as a process of four overlapping phases that nurtured an “ethos” or politics of Aztlán in the 1960s and 1970s:

1) Chicanos believed that the liberal agenda was corrupt;
2) Chicanos saw a need to reinterpret the past;
3) Chicanos affirmed a rediscovered past as an historical and cultural people; and
4) Chicanos engaged in oppositional politics.

For García, the politics of Aztlán are irreversible and although the period of Chicano cultural nationalism and militancy may have lost its edge in today’s political climate, the militant ethos continues to interject itself into the language, symbolism, and imagery of current “Hispanic” politics, which contrary to what many would argue against, has not been immune to the discourse forged by the Chicana/o Generation. As Chon Noriega acknowledges in Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema (2000) “today few Chicano scholars would accept the label of cultural nationalism, but neither would they embrace assimilation.”

The historical narrative on the Civil Rights era generally states that Chicanos were politically and economically oppressed lagging behind in every measurable and quantifiable statistical report, but were largely docile and passive in committing to social change that is, until the Black Civil Rights Movement came to inspire an entire nation. This narrative, of course, has been repeatedly debunked by many Chicana/o historians.

Despite the Black Civil Rights Movement’s influential role across the national political spectrum, García asserts that many Chicana/o movement organizations and leading figures did not necessarily view the Black Civil Rights Movement as a social movement to emulate, because of its integrationist approach, which Rodolfo “Corky” González found unacceptable. García writes that even César Chávez saw Malcolm X as someone who “understood the principles of organizing” better than did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (90-93).

The distinct political approaches undertaken by both the Black and Chicano civil rights movements are definitely something that need to be explored further for it will highlight the extent to which communities will go in order to advocate for social change. In addition, it will problematize the current Black-White paradigm on social movements in the United States.

García’s approach to reinterpreting the Chicano Movement anticipates many of the questions and assumptions made by current analysis of the 1960s and 1970s by Chicana/o scholars. García writes:

This approach also does not relegate the Movement to the political graveyard as an unfocused, passionate social catharsis that arose, played itself out, and left things worse than they were before. This is the kind of conclusion that comes from previous studies, which start praising the ideals of the Movement, then criticize its ideological foundations and bemoans its stepchild, the Hispanic Generation (16).

Because Chicanismo is not a full-length study on the Chicano Movement, rather its a synthesis of the political “ethos” that emerged out of the militancy of the Chicana/o Generation, the work sometimes falls short in exploring this “ethos” to its fullest.

For instance, although Chicanismo connects the Crystal City Revolt of 1963 and the scholarly work of Dr. Octavio Romano in providing fertile ground for the militant “ethos” that would nurture a rejection of the liberal agenda, García only devotes a few pages to exploring the political and philosophical break with the assimilationist practices of an earlier generation.

As a participant-observer during the Chicano Movement, García makes an important contribution to highlighting the power and limitations of the Chicano Movement as it played itself out in a local South Texas community, that of Robstown, where he discusses how the movement effectively agitated for political change beginning with the formation of a group known as the Movimiento Chicano de Robe (120).

The Movement in Robstown” is one of the better chapters in Chicanismo for it illustrates how Chicanas/os used the “ethos” of the Chicano Movement for political empowerment. Although the results were oftentimes mixed, there is no doubt that community empowerment for the Chicana/o people in Robstown was brought about by the militancy and urgency of the Chicano Movement.

García makes some thought-provoking points that have rarely been followed-up or addressed in more recent studies on the Chicano Movement, such as his claim that the Chicano Movement “would be the most inclusive of all social movements of the 1960s and 1970s” (14-15). García argues that in general the movement did not alienate Chicanas, but rather attempted to define the role of Chicanas within the context of cultural nationalism: “Women were not to be subservient as they had been defined earlier, but neither were they to be completely divorced from the community as some radical white feminists sought” (137).

Prior to the publication of Chicanismo in 1997, very few studies, if any, on the Chicano Movement dared to examine the role of La Chicana. Moreover, some recent works of the 1960s and 1970s tend to erroneously conclude that the Chicano Movement degenerated into a purely sexist and homophobic social movement eclipsing any “positives” that the movement contributed to the community.

One contention that García makes and that needs to be explored further is the notion that the reason why the “literature on Chicanas in the Movement is scarce is the fact that most Chicana nationalists pursued interests other than academic ones, whereas Chicana non-nationalists went into the universities and have since written most of the literature” (138).

Because García participated in the Chicano Movement as it transpired in Texas, he saw first-hand the work of María Elena Martínez, Lucy González, Viviana Santiago, Rosie Castro, and Martha Cotera, and he finds it difficult to imagine them as “manipulated women or political groupies” (139).

In retrospect, Maylei Blackwell has shown in ¡Chicana Power! Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement (2011) that there were many Chicanas who developed a critique of the sexual politics of the movement in which the “parameters of women’s status and commitment to the cause were measured by their sexual availability to movement men” (70, ¡Chicana Power!).

Without a doubt, the role of La Chicana in the Chicano Movement is still new terrain that will be uncovered by future Chicana/o scholars, and notwithstanding the divergence between García’s and Blackwell’s analysis, this is a conversation that must be had.

Ignacio M. García closes with an overview of the legacy of the movement as well as a brief analysis of the rise of “Hispanic” politics. García quotes, María Elena Martínez, one of the last chairpersons of La Raza Unida Party to dramatize the difficulties in explaining the meanings of the Chicano Movement to this day: “I never really understood what we meant by self-determination. Was it revolution, or a nation within a nation?” (141). Ultimately, this political and intellectual uncertainty is the driving force that splinters our community and makes it difficult to fully answer with clarity some of the questions proposed earlier.

Although there were slight errors, such as mistakenly identifying Regeneración as the Brown Beret newspaper (it was actually titled La Causa) and incorrectly naming the August Twenty-Ninth Movement as the August Twenty-Third Movement (106-107), overall Chicanismo: The Forging of a Militant Ethos among Mexican Americans by Ignacio M. García is a commendable work in its attempt to synthesize the intellectual history and legacy of the political and militant “ethos” of the Chicano Movement. The politics of Aztlán are still evident even in the era of the “Hispanic” Generation.

— by D.Cid

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, Brown Berets, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Book Reviews, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Politics, Resistance, Sexism, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

1st Annual Regeneración Tlacuilolli: UCLA Raza Studies Journal Symposium: Contesting Global Police Violence (5/27/15) at UCLA

CONTESTING GLOBAL POLICE VIOLENCE

CONTESTING GLOBAL POLICE VIOLENCE

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, California, Capitalism, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Healing, Chicana/o Health, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Gender, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Platica, Police Brutality, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, UCLA, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Francisco Esparza’s Revolución Exhibition at UT Brownsville One West University

"Francisco Esparza’s Revolución" Exhibition

“Francisco Esparza’s Revolución” Exhibition

 

This exhibit features the art work of Mexican immigrant, Francisco Esparza. His art reflects the plight of Mexican and Mexican American workers at the Eagle Bus Company. His art is featured as part of a Journal of Latinos Studies article written by his daughter, Dr. Edith Esparza-Young and historian, Dr. Shannon Baker. The Eagle Bus Strike of 1980 was won by the workers as a direct result of Francisco Esparza’s satirical comments on conditions for workers. Art, interviews and the publication will be featured as part of the exhibit.

The exhibition will open Tuesday, June 9 at 6:00 pm and will close Wednesday, June 24.

Summer I Gallery Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Mural, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Posters, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Education, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Mexican, Mexico, Migrant, Movimiento, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Texas, Unity, UT Brownsville One West University, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

“BARRIOFICATION” Solo-Show by Ricardo Islas (6/6/15) in San Diego

"BARRIOFICATION" SOLO-SHOW BY Ricardo Islas

“BARRIOFICATION” SOLO-SHOW by Ricardo Islas

 

***** SAVE THE DATE ***** JUNE 6TH, 2015

“BARRIOFICATION” SOLO-SHOW BY Ricardo Islas

The art of Ricardo Islas stems from his desire to portray Mexican culture and the social issues Chicanos grapple with every day. Ricardo is a California native who grew up in Calexico, a border town similar to San Diego.

Sounds provided by : Buddha John Buddha Tabor & DJ Cisco Kid Cisco Aguilar

Live performance by : Karlos Paez of the B-Side Players

La Bodega Gallery
2196 Logan Ave. SD 92113

Posted in Aztlan, Barrio, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Mural, Chicana/o Music, Chicana/o Photography, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Mexican, Movimiento, Resistance, San Diego, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

The Annex Presents: Painting Chicano: A Solo Show by Eric Almanza (6/13/15)

Painting Chicano: A Solo Show by Eric Almanza

Painting Chicano: A Solo Show by Eric Almanza

 

 

Painting Chicano: A Solo Show by Eric Almanza

Opening Night reception June 13th, 2015 7pm-10pm
and running through July 4th, 2015
@ Avenue 50 Studio.

About Eric Almanza:

Eric Almanza’s body of work examines social and political issues such as Chicano identity, the criminalization of immigrants, urban life both present and future, and visualizes how they are weaved into the fabric of mainstream twenty-first century American society. Often it is said that Chicanos feel caught between cultures. Not fully American, yet at the same time unable to identify as Mexican.

Eric holds a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, a Secondary Teaching Credential from California State Dominguez Hills and an MFA in Figurative Painting from Laguna College of Art and Design. He keeps an artist’s studio in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles and teaches fine art at West Adams Preparatory High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Mural, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, Highland Park, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, Palabra, Resistance, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Permanent Debt by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)

Permanent Debt

Permanent Debt

Posted in Aztlan, Capitalism, Cartoonista, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Posters, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Gentrification, Globalization, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, Neo-Liberalism, Palabra, Politcal Cartoon, Politics, Privitization, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Social Media, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

2 Heads, 1 Snake by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)

El Machete Illustrated

El Machete Illustrated

Posted in Ayotzinapa, Aztlan, Cartoonista, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Colonialism, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Land, Language, Mexican, Mexico, Movimiento, Palabra, Police Brutality, Politics, Resistance, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Rainy Day Working Class Dictionary

Rainy Day Working Class Dictionary

 

earth planet being

breathing sullen space

viewed from afar

 

full moonlight night held tight

thick cosmic Heart of Sky

protects fragile luminosity

 

aged 6 years I was forced

to enter kinder garden without a trace

of single word in English perhaps

useful to describe the current situation

 

my father Jose was called Pepe by friends

in rudimentary school overnight I became Joe

                                                     even Joey

ain’t that a baby kangaroo?

 

at age ten captivated by magical dictionary

in my dreams another seamless youthful

summertime slipping away, a child’s kite

outside the window caught on telephone wires

dangle dancing sway in awe of wind self

 

reserved Xikano fish out of familiar waters

nightly return to locked bedroom shadows

under the covers by flashlight after lights out

one random page at a time turned I vowed

to learn entire contents by age fourteen

 

2.

catechism summer school exile the nuns

could not find me Davey Crocket lost

on purpose in the tall overgrowth of weeds

I explored waited to see students going home

 

3.

escritorio walnut stained  writing desk

compartments to contain reasonable dreams;

                                         ruled writing pad

                                         drawing pencils

                                         India ink & pens

                                         drawing paper

                                         12″ metal ruler

with which to map straight

bee line Yellow Brick Road

away from the housing projects

on sale my father bought the Salvation Army ribbed

                                         roll down lock down top

I slid down with silver sunshine glow Sabre jet

fighter wings to draw WWII aircraft death from 500 feet

I knew no better then I needed the practice of drawing

 

naive: n [fr.fr. of, inborn character] 1673

2: the quality or state of being naïve marked by

unaffected simplicity : artless ?? , in-geneous  ??

2 a : Deficient word-ly wisdom-less or informed

judgement ;  ESP : credulous

 

                         official lights out

the night has just begun under woolen blanket shameless

I continue my affair fingering each dictionary page

into long lewd summer star-lit dreaming late for school

not my fault miss Rizzo you understand no greater love

    bombastic    afro-desiac    manifesta

    tions roley poly chump be for real

    yellow bulldozers roll off the tongue

    guffaw    faux paux    arf !

    Acapulco    kiwi fruit    ahoy

    busca rido pachcona be my love

 

before Soupy Sales shuffle

White Fang     Black Tooth    Pookie

lunch time t.v. at home before Cisco Kid

Leo Carillo Poncho Villa replica before

Sid Cesar – Imogene Coca

Elvis shake hipster moves

 

I was devoted indentured servant 

a self explanatory dictionary saga

turmoil sea storm a deliberate teenaged rebel

reborn each page a game random selections

a juke box full of old Zenith radio # 1

rock & roll hits the new music

would send us all wailing into hell

ish ocean of fire instead I rode

a thunder cloud into the kingdom of nerd

onto the plain of Maladroit full steed

 

Indio-Xicano : n { f tierra sagrada mix

of huevos rancheros}  1910  2 : name place

Aztlan circa 1961 Indian southwest escape

2  :  notorious in e. L.A.  San Antonio

                           Pheonix  Chicago

                           Detroit Albuquerque

                           y Brownsville pues

and all at the same time . . .

 

one day of discovery of New World resident barrio

revolutionist Ramon ‘el chingon’ Hernandez, local

Keeper of the People as Makers of History, catron

he-dog he said, “words are fine carnal pero you

waste too much time alone and even hostiles

understand the real work waits in the day to day

fuego jale de nuestro barrio libre Mejicano-Xikano

 

you say you want to see some action, bueno vamonos!!

 

ju say tomato      yo digo tomate

           tomato             tomate

           Anglo              Xikano

let’s bring the whole circle home imagine

 

I am Coahuila-Xikano from the Sierra Madre Mountains

from the state of Detroit I have the scars to prove it

 

we must not surrender to fear

a newly freed spirit cannot return

to a former sheltered self the world

is much broader and we are more worthy

 

although we no longer remember our home or language

we retain in the blood the dictionary quietly harbored

in some future book shelf dimension lost pages

anguished peoples buried by slave wages

racism and the weight of oppression

 

4.

back in the day Detroit harnessed youth

Chicano – Boricua Colectivo we took steps

to teach the barrio who is sincere

who is a vendido (sell-out) to the system

 we stated we are not his nor her – Spanics

the word is a product of colonization/

generalization / isolation from the rest

of colonialized “Latin” America realities

 

we are too dark skinned for our own good have

our own history our own particular Gente del Sol

we should not be eating Burger King hamburgers !!

 

we are Maiz

            gourd

            bean

            Tlalok inspired Rain & Earth

 

induced by electronica life style

spectrum dul-ce-fied testosterone : manly norm

side effect of nightly neighborhood barbecues

dox xx’s rendezvous were-wolf lives truth

revealed the masked terms of humor : 

mex  spic  greaser  wet back  grease ball  taco bender

 

5.

to celebrate Poppy Day 1956 i.e. Veteran’s Day

no mention of the wars against Indian People

nor the land stolen our progress arrested I recall

 

nostalgic patriotic essay poster contest

replete with familiar images of war

minute men drum roll fife parade

canon inspired cavalry charges

the death of men and horses

what does Thanksgiving Day mean

to a homeless Indian ?

 

conservatism con: ser : va : tis- mmy goodness

                              kan : ser  : va : ti – shazam!! /

  1. 1835 texican traitor revolt

                             

                              civil air patrol view of the world

                              hidden between the lines

                              wide spread panic tendency

                              cold war dash under our desks

                              3  :  paranoia  4  :  war mongering

 

 

6.

 

Little Mexico

 

we named the WWII projects erected

to house the incoming flux of workers

drawn by the hope of factory work

demanding a different slang

filled with action words

 

1  cap a  :  spicy caldo de res :

huge floating islands of potato

beefy bone colossus, donkey eared

cabbage, onion, celery & carrot

chubby enchilada tortillas de maiz

in real time homemade hot chile sauce

I am really cooking now

 

imaginary rich thick saucy words

stirred with our wooden spoon of culture

 

we are meq  1 : water we are

looking for fun on the run I choose

without hesitation to wear my hair long

someday longer than Grandmother Guadalupe’s

on windy days we fly our nationalist flags

my clothes are simple cotton, baggy chinos

seldom wrinkled the secret

lays in how to fold them

 

we are Xixemecaticano caught in the bowels

of capitalist domination hunting gathering

a dictionary for survival we are not

gangsters with druggie doggies

for protection we are a part of the pack

wild grey wolf & black Crow incantations

 

because we spik-a-the-english for self defense

we learn how to bop our way through this our lifetime

we do not negate the lessons learned from the fabric

of liberation our teacher is the tonal – the tone of the times

 

we go by many names many aliases

                                     bad dog

                                     mala hora

                                     Zapatista

                                     pachuco

 

                                     Brown Beret

                                     wobbly

                                     Indio

                                     Chicano !           Power !

 

transparent

a stoic pen stain exclamation !  a

thin maneuverable paint brush stroke

the mood is light near perfection

a smooth satin Latin sheen

 

                                         Aztatl X

                                           2015

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Prose, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Land, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Getting the Big Picture: Mel Casas and the Politics of the 1960s and 1970s in San Antonio

Getting the Big Picture

Getting the Big Picture

Getting the Big Picture: Mel Casas and the Politics of the 1960s and 1970s, an exhibition of 21 large-scale acrylic paintings (also known as Humanscapes) organized by guest curator Ruben C. Cordova, opens Friday, June 5, 2015 at the Museo Guadalupe in San Antonio, and runs through October 24, 2015.

Mel Casas (1929-2014) was an artist of national and international renown, as well as an important leader, theoretician, teacher, mentor, and administrator. He served as the first president and leading spokesperson for the San Antonio-based Con Safo art group, considered by many to be one of the most significant Chicano art groups during the social unrest of the 60s and 70s. Casas also taught at San Antonio College for 29 years, where he chaired the art department for nine of those years. Casas was born and raised in El Paso. He received his his BA from Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) in 1956 and his MFA from the University of the Americas in 1958.

“Mel Casas was truly a seminal artist and an important part of the Chicano movement,” said Guadalupe executive director Jerry Ruiz. “Our community mourns his recent passing. The Guadalupe wanted to honor his memory by highlighting his achievements and showing his art at its political, compelling best. We’re proud to showcase his works and share them with the public. He’s an artist who really embodies our mission.”

Casas is best known for a series of 6’ x 8’ paintings he called Humanscapes. A number of these paintings appeared in notable exhibitions, including Casas’ major solo exhibitions, the 1975 Whitney Biennial, and DaleGas in 1978. They have also been featured in important group exhibitions that toured nationally and internationally, including “Ancient Roots, New Visions” (1977-1978), “The Latin American Spirit” (1988-1990), “Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985” (1991-1993), “La Frontera/The Border” (1993-1994), and “Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,” (2001-2007).

“This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the core group of politically themed Humanscapes that Casas painted in the tumultuous decade between February 1968 and May 1977,” said guest curator Ruben C. Cordova.

The Humanscape series had its origin in 1965 when Casas drove past the San Pedro drive-in cinema in San Antonio. As he glimpsed up at the screen, he beheld a close-up shot of a woman speaking. From his distant perspective, her giant head appeared to be “munching” on trees in the adjacent landscape. This experience of divergent realities inspired 150 numbered Humanscapes that were painted between 1965 and 1989. While many of the paintings in this exhibition deal primarily with national issues including militarism and war, the United Farm Workers movement, and the assassination of political leaders, they also touch on an array of issues from Fiesta in San Antonio to the apartheid in South Africa.

Opening Reception: Getting the Big Picture: Mel Casas
Friday, June 5
6-9pm
Museo Guadalupe
723 S. Brazos St.
Free and open to the public

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