Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The artist Nora Chapa Mendoza talks about issues of race and culture in the United States as they shaped her life and career as a Chicano artist. She describes her activities opening galleries, beginning in the early 1970s, in Pontiac and later in Detroit, Michigan, and her participation as co-founder of Nuestras Artes de Michigan. She also reflects on her increasing commercial success as an artist, asking if, given the many more opportunities for Chicano artists in 2001, prejudice has really been defeated in the twenty-first century. Chapa Mendoza concludes that it has not, conveying anecdotes of her own children’s struggles against discrimination. Ultimately, she encourages her listeners to strive for a society where differences are valued. 

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The Chicano artist Nora Chapa Mendoza delivered this lecture on March 24, 2001, at a conference sponsored by the English department of Michigan State University in Lansing. Through a narrative that connects her personal experience with the struggle for Chicano civil rights and a related art movement during the 1970s, Chapa Mendoza describes her trajectory, beginning with a childhood on the Texas-Mexico border and ending in Michigan. Of note is Chapa Mendoza’s mention of her role in co-founding Nuestras Artes de Michigan—an organization devoted to promoting “Hispanic” art—with the artists Jesse Gonzalez and Martin Moreno, and the art historian George Vargas.

Researcher
Olga Herrera; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Team
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA
Credit
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Nora Chapa Mendoza, W. Bloomfield, MI