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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blogpost Otro Corazon

Last week, the Otro Corazon conference took place at UCLA. The conference focussed on queer Chicano art. Chicano culture is completely new to me, however, the style of Rasquachismo seemed familiar. When I walked into the conference room, my first throught was of Bernadette, the mother of my best friend. My best friend and her mother are both Dutch, born and raised in the Netherlands. However, walking into the conference room, I couldn’t help but think of Bernadette’s living room. They live in a tiny apartment in Amsterdam, in a traditional working class neighbourhood. Bernadette is an artist herself, she writes and directs plays and she used to have an eatery in her house. Their house is filled with images of lady Guadalupe. While the name Rasquachismo was only introduced to my last Friday, I am convinced Bernadette embodies the identity that comes with that. She has been living with a brain tumor the size of a thumb for over twenty years now, but wow, does she make the most of the little she has. Her living room is an accumulation of memories, of decorations, a garden of sanctuary. There is lights everywhere, and little figurines, and flowers. In the panels, many of the panel members talked about Rasquachismo as something you are. Before knowing about the word, or the culture behind it, or the history, I knew Bernadette was Rasquachismo. The conference really opened my eyes to a culture I feel like I have known for a long time. I just never knew what to call it or where to look for it. While Rasquahismo seems typical for this area of the world, it also exists on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in a different context but with the same spirit. I think that is really beautiful.

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