By Tiffiny Gaston |Staff writer|
Artwork from the first generation of Chicano muralists will be displayed at The CSUSB Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) through May 25.
The gallery showcases Chicano muralists in southern California, from 1968 through 1985.
Chicano art emerged as a symbol for the Chicano socio-political movement in the United States.
The pieces portrayed in the gallery tell a story about the Chicano culture and the struggles they had to overcome.
Photographer and CSUSB professor emeritus Elliott Barkan created the gallery to showcase just that.
According to news.csusb.edu, “In many ethnic Mexican-American neighborhoods young men and women began discovering new forms of expression along the walled apartment buildings, schools and highways,” says Barkan, who is curating the exhibition with RAFFMA director Eva Kirsch.
Barkan relocated from the east coast to southern California in 1968 during the civil rights movement and began documenting the movement through photographs to showcase their quests for identity, leadership and civic equality.
“The cries of pain and protest now took form in many dozens of quite different public spaces, challenging and capturing a wide variety of artistic topics that defined the new Chicano Power perspective.
The communities were marked by art works applied with ferociously bold images and scenes nearly all related to Latino life, culture and religion,” according to a press release from news.csusb.edu.
The artwork still affects today’s generation of people, who understand the importance of the RAFFMA gallery of the first generation of Chicano muralist.
“I think the exhibit is important because it gives insight to a particular group expression during a particular time.
And whether you know anything about art or not it’s good to still go to the exhibit I think I may take a look at it seems interesting and it’s connected to important time in history,” said CSUSB student Lupe Duran.
The gallery is a documented expression of the Chicano culture, which still runs deep through current generations of Chicano people.
“I have never attended the RAFFMA Gallery before, but my grandfather and I have plans to attend. My grandfather always told me stories about how he participated in civil rights protests; so it will be a great experience to put a visual with it,” said student Marissa Graham.
Many people in today’s generation still use art as a mode of self-expression and a way to identify with one’s culture. CSUSB student Angel Giron relates art with, “Yeah it kind of identifies you and the person you are and your culture,” said student Angel Giron. “I personally use art as a way to express the things I have been through.”
A reception for the exhibition will be held at RAFFMA on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 5-7 p.m. General admission to the museum is free, however donations are accepted.