Social justice-oriented creative expressions have proven a transformative force in many eras, from the Black Arts Movement to the explosion of Mexican-American humanities from the 1940s to 1970s. Chicana and Chicano Art: ProtestArte, author Carlos Francisco Jackson’s focal point is the mélange of influences undergirding the Chicana/o spectrum.
Jackson briskly relates the story of the Mexican-American civil rights struggle and the elements giving rise to the Chicana/o arts movement. The storytelling is rich and detailed, as Jackson traverses points that go beyond the Southwestern United States for which the activism was often criticized in basing its references. Jackson talks about the Zoot Suit Riots as easily as he conveys the fieldhand struggles based around the United Farm Workers and the comradeship with Third World liberation clashes, all of which are presented visually in a variety of forms.
The Chicana/o arts story is, like the Black Arts Movement, inherently linked to cultural aspirations of a particular place in time. However, unlike the Black Arts Movement, the tale Jackson tells is one of artists not nearly as focused on building dual institutions, but rather carving out a space where respect and recognition are demanded. By this telling, readers also get a sense of one of the Mexican-American civil rights movement’s greatest tensions, though it really is not written about in this book.
- Working From Within: Chicana and Chicano Activist Educators in Whitestream Schools [review]
- Carlos Cortez, Movement Artist [Saturday #Culture]
- Saturday Radical Culture: Dignidad Rebelde
- Want to Start A Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle [review]
- Dancing Across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos [review]