Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Otro Corazon 2:Queering Chicanidad in the Arts (Reflection)
Fridays symposium on the life and art of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, his contemporaries and the model of Rasquachismo, was filled with a detailed assessment of the history of chicano art and the problems and highlights of the field. Each speaker spoke from the heart when they explained their connection to Tomás and to chicano art as a whole and the whole experience was moving. During the first and second panel, the word Rasquachismo was tossed around a lot. The term coined by Frausto himself in his article "Rasquachismo: A Chicano Sensibility"in which he explains how a particular aesthetic approach or "sensibility" has informed and shaped Chicano Culture. Each speaker explained their connection with the Chicanx aesthetic and how it has shaped their view of art and art history which is often plagued with the blatant disregard of artists of color. Holly Barnet- Sanchez clearly and with her whole heart as she outlined her experiences of having Chicanx art dismissed to make room for “American” art- a very loose term that she has a lot of conflict with because the term embodies more than just a white aesthetic. The dismissal of “ethnic art” in practice is horrible, but even in theory doesn’t make sense- as all art is ethnic art because it cannot escape the community from which it came. Judy Barca’s explored her own works and related it to the style of Rasquachismo and what it means to be a woman in that rebellious male dominated space. Growing up in Watt’s in a predominantly African American community, Baca was able to hone in on the Rasquache sensibility. Embodying the character of “run down” look of Latin American life and transforming it into something that is able to speak to a greater community outside of just a Latin American consciousness. Rasquachismo then becomes a political statement that stems from personal attitude and a “look” that allows people in the Chicano community to have a sense of agency in that rebellious nature and aesthetic. Baca’s work is interactive in that it speaks directly to a persons identity and the greater Los Angeles area of which it originates. The whole event was so sweet and insightful. I’m very lucky to have been able to listen to people talk about their work and the current state of affairs of Chicanx art.