Mesoamerica | Frida, Diego & The Muralists
Chicana/o Art | Mictlan | Nepantla Aesthetics
The Road to Mictlan

Congresso de Artistas
Chicanos en Aztlan
"We Art Not A Minority," Mural
Estrada Courts Housing Project
East Los Angeles, 1978

During the 1960's an important component of El Movimiento Chicano was the involvement of artists in this socio-political movement. As artists began to actively participate in the efforts to redress the plight of Mexicans in the United States, there emerged a new iconography and symbolic language which not only articulated the movement, but became the core of a Chicano cultural renaissance. This renaissance in the arts was in fact the birth and flowering of a Chicano world view or Chicano aesthetic and because of its close alliance with and commitment to social change and political activism it is known today as the Chicano Art Movement. From the ranks of this movement came "artists, poets and actors who collectively generated a cultural renaissance and whose work played a key role in creating the ideology of the Chicano movement."

One of the underlying and unifying principles of this artistic movement was the concept of Chicanismo. According to art historian Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino, in his study on Chicano murals, Chicanismo was a complex of nationalist strategies by which Chicano origins and histories, as well as present and future identities, were constructed and legitimized. Furthermore, Chicanismo provided a context for historical reclamation of the self through the affirmation of Chicano cultural narratives while resisting Anglo models of assimilation. By the late 1960's, Chicanismo had become in effect the central strategy in the process of self definition for the Chicano community.