This week, we hopped through the Chicano/a movement through art, and its principles are really intriguing to me. Our guest, Raoul Deal, talked about a lot of different pieces, rich in Latino history, but what got me really thinking was one vague, umbrella claim that he made. It reaches across any and all walks of life with the intent to raise some kind of awareness. He said this:
A lot of art wants to change the world, but it doesn’t always want to change it for the better.
I just had to write it down and ponder it some more. What is art that changes the world for the worse? He presented us with a few examples of racist art, and knock off styles that satirize society or politics. That seemed like the most prevalent mode, in fact, of representing art for the worse.
It’s all in the eye of the beholder, again, what becomes of a piece and its quest.
So then, we had a chat about wheat pasting images into public spaces, and legal forms of “graffiti” (if that term can be used in this context) such as chalking and mud stenciling. What tied that in further, I think, was taking the ideas of grand, elaborate Mexican wall murals and transferring that idea onto a less-permanent, yet still provocative, image. And I just really dig that.
As the Chicanos emerged from the hope for a new political identity, and an involvement in the history of the community, this seems a pretty powerful method of communication. I’m stoked to see what becomes of the work that Raoul has planned for his pupils.