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  • ICAA Record ID
    1126581
    TITLE
    Brown paper report
    IN
    Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas. -- Los Angeles : UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2009
    DESCRIPTION
    p. 63
    LANGUAGES
    English
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Report
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Casas, Mel. “Browon paper report.” In Con Safo: The Chicano Art Group and the Politics of South Texas, 63. Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2009
    TOPIC DESCRIPTORS
    GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTORS
Synopsis

“Brown Paper Report” is the manifesto of the Tejano [Texan-Chicano] San Antonio-based art collective Con Safo, written by artist Mel Casas in 1971. This short text presents the concepts of Chicano and “Brown Vision,” as well as the etymology and the meaning of the phrase “Con Safo.” The manifesto vacillates between defiance and pleas of inclusion, rejection, and embrace of mainstream white America. It postulates to replace the “monochrome” vision of the society with a diverse “polychrome vision,” which would allow the people to exist “in harmony with themselves.” It also defends the collective’s practice of writing graffiti: scribbling on walls the symbol C/S.

Annotations

The art collective Con Safo was founded in 1968 by Felipe Reyes and five other San Antonio-based artists under the moniker El Grupo. Active until 1975, the group counted among its members José Esquivel, Rudy Treviño, Roberto Ríos, and Mel Casas, the author of “Brown Paper Report” and professor of San Antonio College. The name eventually adopted by the collective, Con Safo (from Spanish zafarse), is an old barrio term that conveys an attitude of sneaking out of difficult situations. Internal disagreements between the members of the group and lack of consensus, especially toward Casas’s belief in mestizo [mixed-race] awareness as the basis of a Chicano consciousness, led the author and two others—Carmen Lomas Garza and Amado Maurilio Peña—to leave the group in the mid-1970s. Subsequently, they formed their own collective, Los Quemados, in 1975. [See “Con Safos Resignation Letter,” document # 849230.] Nonetheless, “Brown Paper Report” is considered one of the foundational texts of the Chicano art movement.

Researcher
Dorota Biczel
Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Credit
Courtesy of Mel Casas, San Antonio TX