Family, Homeland, Revolution: Stories of the Chicano Movement
April 6 - November 4, 2018.
Texts by Blanca Bercial
The Mexican Museum is proud to present Family, Homeland, Revolution: Stories of the Chicano Movement; an exhibition that showcased over 40 works by Chicano artists from the Civil Rights Movement to 2018. Chicano art transforms and takes the shape of the community it revolves around and it continues to evolve and showcase the lives, needs, and politics of the people it represents. This exhibit recounted the roots of the Chicano Art Movement and its aggressive continuation to represent its community.
This exhibit explores the many layers that Chicano art has come to portray in the last 50 years beginning with the closeness of family and the cultural importance of the relationships that are maintained in the Mexican American community. The show features prominent artists like Carmen Lomas Garza and Emigdio Vasquez; their beautiful paintings of home life and family portraits reveal the intimacy and variations of the family unit. The exhibit highlights the artistic expression of the political voice that resonated throughout the Civil Rights Movement, and continues in contemporary society, through the work of Rupert Garcia, Ester Hernandez and Juan R. Fuentes. Finally, the exhibition showcases works that have continued with the traditions established by El Movimiento, as well as works that create new visual vocabularies, that redefine past traditions and explore individual feelings of what it is to be bicultural.
Chicano art has a history of transforming and evolving, to take the shape of the community it revolves around with. It has continued to grow and showcase the lives, needs, and politics of the people it represents and has manifested to fit the political climate by providing voices to a population that is still marginalized and silenced. The themes explored here are the closeness of family, the cultural importance of the relationships we maintain in the Mexican American community, the political voices that ascended from the Civil Rights Movement which have continued to center on problems that plague immigrant families and their children, and finally, variations of what Chicano art has branched out to–exploring identity, and abstract representations of the modern Chicano masses.
“To this day, the term ‘Chicano’ maintains its blurry edges, but it continues to reflect a meaningful way of thinking about the confluence of cultural and historical forces—in short, about life… When Mexican Americans began identifying as Chicanos, it was a form of self-affirmation; it reflected the consciousness that their experience living in between nations, histories, cultures, and languages was uniquely and wholly theirs. This is what gave birth to a sense of community, a people: Los Chicanos.”
Maceo Montoya, Chicano Movement for Beginners
“Like all people, we perceive the version of reality that our culture communicates. Like others having or living in more than one culture, we get multiple, often opposing messages. The coming together of two self-consistent but habitually incomparable frames of reference causes un choque, a cultural collision.”
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza