Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Otro Corazon conference held this past Friday introduced me to an aesthetic Chicano sensibility that resonated with my lived experiences. The conference was a sort of community valentine to Mexican-American scholar Tomas Ybarra-Fausto who developed and defined Rasquachismo. I learned that in the traditional vernacular rasquache usually meant something was crummy, in poor taste, low quality, and tacky. Tomas Ybarra-Fausto redefined and transformed its meaning for Chicanos, especially for poor Chicanos like myself. In his essay entitled, Rasquachismo: A Chicano Sensibility he "projects an alternative aesthetic- a sort of good taste of bad taste... the use of available resources engenders hybridization, juxtaposition, and integration... rasquachismo is an underdog perspective... To be rasquache is to be down but not out... and subvert the consumer ethic of mainline culture with strategies of appropriation, reversal, and inversion."
In essence, this aesthetic sensibility in Chicano art reflects the lived experiences of people of color. As an underdog class in society Chicanos have to make do with what they have. However, despite their position within the larger society they still attempt to make something beautiful from something tacky or of poor quality. In a sense, this sensibility reflects a form of resistance which incorporates appropriation, reversal, and inversion; and "feigns complicity with dominant discourses while skilfully recentering and transforming them." This concept was clearly demonstrated by a guest speaker at the Rasquache Aesthetics roundtable discussion. In her presentation, she showed us a boy tie she constructed by gluing miniature pieces of pan dulce onto pieces of color styrofoam. This rasquache piece of clothing she constructed reflects her lived experiences and recalls her household where pan dulce was always a sure thing at the breakfast table, and would often serve as meals.

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