Richard Álvarez

My work is about visualizing those ideas that reflect the indigenous side of my heritage. I attempt to recognize and pay homage to our cultural myths and icons. As a Chicano, an artist, and a teacher, my arte is a humble contribution to the continuation of el movimiento. I paint to clarify in my mind the context of my existence and life experiences. My art allows an opportunity for the viewer and me to dialogue and discuss chicanisimo. It confirms the present and allows me to visualize the past. It corrects misconceptions about historical events and offers a counterview to the European-based definition of our culture.

La Virgen de los Muertos

I find it difficult to expound on this image. It is an accumulation of concepts I was taught, observed, learned and ultimately rejected.

As children we accept and learn the teaching of our parents and the church. We follow traditions: baptism, first communion, confirmation and so forth. As youngsters we question, and as adults we must accept or reject.

Paradoxes abound. Her apparition is accepted as reality. She is a symbol of life and motherhood, yet used to promote war and death. Hidalgo used her. Zapata used her. Nuestra Raza uses her when desperate, when death lurks, and when convenient.

To me, the Virgen de Guadalupe represents the contradictions of Catholic dogma.


With this painting I join a long line of artists who have used the image of Che Guevara to promote political activism. In Chepatista, Che's revolutionary voice and spirit live in the ongoing struggle of the Ejercito Zapatista Liberacion Nacional (E.Z.L.N.).

The Zapatista credo of "Para todos, la luz; para todos, todo. Para nosotros, la allegre rebeldia. Para nosotros nada" resonates of Guevara's tenacious struggle to correct the injustices of capitalism.

Originally conceived as a poster and used in demonstrations and protests in Los Angeles, this work has extended itself into our community to voice my concerns about the adverse effects of globalization on the indigenous populations of Mexico, Central and South America.


Self Portrait

In Self Portrait, I recognize my base with all humanity. It is inspired by Shoshone petroglyphs found in the California desert.


Quetzalcoatl Speaks

Quetzalcoatl Speaks is an attempt to show the rage and revulsion against Christianity by the ancient ones.


El ultimo surco

El ultimo surco pays homage to César Chávez and his untimely death.


For God, Glory and Gold

For God, Glory and Gold is my perception of why and how the Spaniards and other Europeans directed their conquest.


Mayan Vase with Flores and Mi corazon

Mayan Vase with Flores and Mi corazon speak of my love and admiration for my wife Kathleen Álvarez.


La Malinche Speaks

La Malinche Speaks is the latest work I have completed. It depicts my musings on what occurred when Dona Marina, La Malinche, first met and spoke with Moctezuma on behalf of the conquistadores.