This is the blog for the UCLA Chicana Art & Artists course offered by the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies (CSM 175, also Art M184 and World Arts & Cultures M128). This course provides a historical and contemporary overview of Chicana art production with an emphasis on painting, photography, prints, murals and activist art.
In the article, Professor Gaspar de Alba discusses and critics the CARA exhibition's lack of inclusivity of Chicana artists. Gaspar de Alba explains the gender disparity and problematic female representation exhibited at CARA. For instance, she illustrates that many of the females portrayed by Chicanos are either depicted as mothers or as mistresses which objectify Chicana women to a constrain role or identity. This is interesting because I believe these expectations are still practiced in the Chicanx community. Unfortunately, women are seen as inferior due to the patriarchy and machismo embedded in society. Gaspar de Alba also discusses in lecture how CARA was created to preserve, represent, and maintain the Chicano/a experience. She specifically stated that it was "art for the people" which meant it was supposed to represent everyone in the most inclusive way possible. However, that was not the case since it represented only a few Chicana artists paintings and the rest were demeaning and hypersexualized Chicana women. This is upsetting since I believe that most male artist do depict women as objects and stereotype them either as mothers or whores. Chicana artists are historically underrepresented and their art work is always viewed lesser to the Chicano artists due to hegemony. However, many Chicana artists depict the reality of the Chicana experience and criticize and question the heterosexist Chicano narrative. Moreover, Professor Gaspar de Alba defines and distinguishes the difference between politics of identity and identity of politics. She emphasizes how the politics of identity are the way an individual defines themselves. She then raised a very interesting question on who identifies as "Feminist" and unsurprisingly mostly women raised their hand and men did not. She then explains that many people misinterpret the meaning of feminism. It is stereotyped to be a "hating men" movement, when that is not the case. Gaspar de Alba goes into depth explaining how a man can also identify as a feminist if he has shares the same beliefs as feminists. Similar, to being a queer ally any individual may be a feminist ally. It is not surprising to me that many people misinterpret the feminism movement because historically feminism was centered on the upper-middle class white women. Therefore, women of color and queer women did not relate to the initial movement and were in fact marginalized by the movement. Interestingly, many Chicana artists in CARA did not identify themselves as feminist because they believed it was not constructed for them. However, throughout the years feminism has taken account of the intersectionality of women of color and become more inclusive. Therefore, it is interesting to understand that many of these terms have been dismantled and reconstructed by people of color to fit into a more inclusive identity.