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Contributed by Josh T Franco on 12/11/2013
OPENING: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, GANNETT CENTER. GLYPHS is an exhibition of works by students in the course Chicano/a Art. As artists, students were invited to respond creatively to the conversations held throughout the semester. Please join to view and discuss the striking results.
GLYPHS is an exhibition of works by students in Chicano/a Art (Fall 2013). Throughout the course, the students familiarized themselves with concepts particular to Chicano/a cultural production: rasquachismo; hybrid Spanish, Nahuatl, and English language practices; Malinchismo; border/lands; muralismo; “alter-nativity”; Hispanismo / Indigenismo; mestizaje; El Movimiento / La Causa / La Lucha; Aztlán; jotería; Chicana Feminism, and more. To introduce and unpack these terms, we took up the writings of Gloria Anzaldúa, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez, the poet Alurista, Shifra Goldman, Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Luis Valdez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Jose Montoya, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Laura E. Perez, Judy Baca and others. Through extensive discussion, the class explored the historical coming to be of these terms and questioned their contemporary statuses and deployments. These conversations were anchored in viewings of key works of art culled from Pre-Colombian imagery, artworks produced as part of the social upheavals of the 1960s and 70s, and contemporary artistic practices occurring “after” the Chicano/a Movement.
As artists, students were invited to respond with artworks to the conversations held throughout the semester. Not bound by medium (in the rasquache spirit of Chicano/a artmaking), the results include writing, performance, film, sculpture, site-specific installation, found-object assemblage, books, and online interventions. As their instructor and witness to their work, I have decided to title the exhibition GLYPHS. In the Nahuatl (Aztec) cosmology frequently mined and re-interpreted by Chicano/a artists, tlacuilo are those who carved or scribed the pictographic Nahuatl language in codices and on architectural facades; tlamatinime were the wise men who interpreted and guiding this carving. Chicana art scholar Laura E. Perez understands contemporary Chicana artists as having combined these roles, both making and interpreting their own glyphs as tlacuilo-tlamatini, against a hierarchical division of labor. I understand these student artists to be undertaking a similar project; they not only read and looked, but also produced creative works as their response to the course material. It is with utmost enthusiasm that I invite you to explore their GLYPHS.
Josh T Franco
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