Chicanismo y Latinismo

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Chicanismo y Latinismo

On View: Aug 22 – Sep 27 Gallery hours: Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm

Opening Reception:
FRI AUG 22 | 6-8pm | FREE!
Pablo Antio y La Firma Dance Party: FRI AUG 22 | Lesson 8pm, Dance party 9pm
- Screen Printing Workshop w/ Edgar Reyes | 10am-Noon
- Performance by Yadira De La Riva | Noon-1pm
- Panel Discussion, moderated by Michelle Gomez | 1:30pm-3pm

Chicanismo y Latinismo
is a group exhibition that explores how the Chicano movement has continued to evolve by moving beyond its West Coast origins and expand its sense of justice to include a multiplicity of Latin American identities.  The show also explores how and why artists of various Latin American nationalities identify with or against the label of being Chicano.  Artists exploring either Chicanismo or Latinismo today use a variety of media and social encounter tactics, including performance, costuming, painting, screenprinting, video, murals, and sculpture to clarify misconceptions of their contemporary movements while bridging their experience into both gallery and community spaces. 

Historically speaking, being Chicano meant choosing to be a Mexican-American with a non-Anglo view of oneself and to acknowledge the presence of both historical narratives as present within one body. Today, “being Chicano” is about one’s ideology and approach to advancing cultural norms, including issues of justice in relation to gay and lesbian rights.  The historical Chicano movement has blossomed into a larger conversation that gives voice to an entire strata of the American population whose identities stem from their dual status as immigrants, or any other marginalized group, and Americans. 

This art historical movement was predominantly expressed by artists who painted public murals following in the footsteps of similar artists in the ‘30s such as Diego Rivera who attempted to depict the issues inherent to the Latino experience.  These activist-artists used art to examine their identity and history as well as speak out about social issues, often in a controversial way.  A combination of street art and community activism, the Chicano murals of a generation ago were seen as a way to rally and unite the community, decorate space and use it to educate the public.

Artists situated within Latinismo hold a very similar set of beliefs; however, they make a distinction from Chicanismo because of its origins, which directly correlate to a Mexican-American experience.  Those identifying with Latinismo similarly explore their dual identity but with attention to their specific nationality, attending to those roots in particular.  The Latinismo distinction is an increasingly important one as it emphasizes the differing origins of the Latino experience – necessarily demanding recognition of their specific nationalities and justice for their unique stories.

Whether recent graduates from the Baltimore community, or established in the international art scene, the artists included in Chicanismo y Latinismo exemplify the expansion of the Chicano movement, and how that expansion demands further exploration and conversation surrounding the roots of its participants.  As a community art center located in Baltimore’s most multi-cultural neighborhood, the Creative Alliance is proud to explore the expanded definition of “Chicano” today with our neighbors and surrounding neighborhoods, recognizing that the meeting ground for diverse communities happens where the encounter has been encouraged to grow.

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