Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

This essay by Chicano artist Rupert Garcia explores the use of the term “the other” in order to define and separate minority groups within mainstream Western culture and how this is reflected in art. The catalyst for this discussion is an exhibit entitled Other Sources (1976) which, Garcia argues, should simply be titled Sources. For the author, there is a negative impact that has persisted with the ongoing “othering” of so-called Third World peoples. The author analyzes the term against the backdrop of the history of colonization in the Americas. Garcia develops a definition of a “Third World aesthetic,” which he uses to understand developments in Muralism by members of various ethnic groups including African American, Chinese, Navajo, Japanese, and Latino artists. Garcia stresses the role of the works produced by such artists as a persistent attempt to engage with the notion of decolonization and reclaim destroyed cultural identities.

Annotations

Rupert Garcia (b. 1941) is an artist with a long history in the San Francisco Bay Area’s art scene. He participated in the 1968 San Francisco State University student strike, the establishment of the Galeria de la Raza in 1970, and as one of the founding fathers and masters of the Chicano poster art movement. The Other Sources exhibition and catalogue offered a counter narrative to the celebratory activities related to the United States bicentennial in 1976. Garcia’s essay, especially his vehement refutation of the concept of “the other,” is reflective of his experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has a history of rejecting nationalism in favor of internationalism in its brand of Chicanismo. A prolific writer on muralism, Garcia also contributed articles to the San Francisco Mission District’s newspaper, El Tecolote, and the California statewide Chicano journal, Chismearte.

The exhibition, Other Sources: An American Essay, was shown at the San Francisco Art Institute from September 17 to November 7, 1976.

Researcher
Tere Romo.
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
Courtesy of Rupert Garcia, Oakland, CA.
Courtesy of San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA