The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This document is a transcript of the interview between Olivia Evey Chapa and Chicana visual artist Carmen Lomas Garza. Chapa outlines her motivations for conducting the interview, including her personal enthusiasm for her work, as well as her desire to remedy the lack of recorded histories of Chicanas. Topics covered include Lomas Garza’s beginnings as an artist and her influences, notably her family and educational experiences growing up in Texas, as well as the critical impact of the Chicano Movement in her art. She discusses her participation in organizing the first art show at the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), and her subsequent involvement in the creation of Jacinto Treviño—a Chicano college—both of them in La Lomita, Texas. Lomas Garza also talks about her work as a teacher and the ways in which social and political events, such as the walkout of Chicano students at Robstown in 1972, affected her role in the classroom. The interview covers her artistic development in detail, highlighting the experience of her first solo exhibition and exploring several works from her portfolio. She comments on what it means to her to be a Chicana artist and discusses the importance of artistic education as a necessary tool for instructing one’s audience on the potential functions and meanings of art. Though she suggests that the Chicano Movement is inextricably linked to Chicano art production, Lomas Garza is critical of artists who emphasize only certain moments in the history of the movement, such as those she views who rely too heavily on pre-Columbian references. She argues in favor of a wider, more flexible and nuanced definition of Chicano art both from within and outside the Chicano artistic community.
Carmen Lomas Garza is one of the key Chicana artists, both in her native Texas and in California’s Chicano art movement, who has received international as well as national mainstream art recognition. This interview was conducted for a small bilingual journal in Austin, Texas, by oral historian Olivia Evey Chapa and published in 1976, before Lomas Garza moved to San Francisco. It is valuable for its detailed information regarding Lomas Garza’s life in South Texas, her artistic development, and her reasons for identifying herself as a Chicana artist. More importantly, it outlines Lomas Garza’s belief in the need for a more expansive and fluid Chicano art—one not grounded only in gender politics or limited aesthetic styles.