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
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
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.
In Self Portrait, I recognize my base with all humanity. It
is inspired by Shoshone petroglyphs found in the California desert.
Quetzalcoatl Speaks is an attempt to show the rage and revulsion against
Christianity by the ancient ones.
El ultimo surco pays homage to César Chávez and his untimely death.
Glory and Gold
For God, Glory and Gold is my perception of why and how the Spaniards
and other Europeans directed their conquest.
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 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.