Monday, February 13, 2006

Chicano Art

What is Chicano Art and how, when, where and why did in start?

Chicano Art is the physical expression of the Chicano experience. It started in the Pachuco enclaves, which spanned the campos and barrios of Aztlan. We can say that it started as an expression of individuality and identification because it first appeared as tattoos, then as drawings and etchings depicting the religious Icons, the lifestyle of the Pachuco and heroic deeds of Aztec warriors.

One of the most duplicated subjects of Chicano Art is La Virgen de Guadalupe. She majestically adorns barrio walls, bridges, tee-shirts, banners and lowrider cars.

In the turbulent Sixties, Chicano Art took on a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement when Cesar Chavez incorporated teatro in the community outreach efforts of the United Farm Workers (UFW). El Teatro Campesino used “Actos” stylistic one-act agitprop skits that immediately grabbed an audience’s attention. The teatro attracted many types of artists, including graphic artists. These graphic artists took the motifs that had once adorned the arms of Pachucos as tattoos and the barrio walls as graffiti and used them in posters declaring the birth of the Chicano Movement. As Southwestern Art, Chicano Art is at par with Remington and O’Keefe.

¡Yo Soy Chicano, Y Que! Became the battle cry of the movement.

Today, Chicano Art is still revolutionary. Wherever the struggle of Chicanos exists, Chicano artists are there to get the message in images that words cannot express to the plebe of Aztlan.

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