Stemming from my previous work on Chicano socio-environmental struggles produced in the U.S. Southwest and reflected in literary works, I intend to broaden my research by analyzing other cultural manifestations regarding Chicanos’ resistances. Music, visual arts and crafts are other means through which Chicanas and Chicanos had voiced their discontent against socio-environmental injustices. These would for instance include the degradation of their barrios and communities, the loss of land grants and communal rights, or the consistent poisoning and mistreatment of farmworkers.
I will explore these issues through music (mainly corridos), instances of visual art often labeled as artivism (murals), and a craft (embroidery). I intend to analyze Chicano socio-environmental consciousness as portrayed in four different case studies: the corridos celebrating Reies López Tijerina and the work of La Alianza Federal de Las Mercedes; the corridos honoring Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, leaders of the United Farm Workers; the murals in Chicano Park (San Diego, California –from which the quote in the title is taken); and the embroidery of a local protest against privatization, enclosure and environmental degradation of a land grant in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of southern Colorado.
Art (in its broadest sense) can reclaim a historical identity, making it available for the political use of the community. Through this paper I intend to contribute to uncover the richness of Chicano socio-environmental consciousness, which I believe deserves more scholarly scrutiny. This consciousness, I argue, is central to Chicano’s sense of community and plays a key role in their struggle for cultural autonomy.
X International Conference on Chicano Literature and Latino Studies: Culture and Hispanic Heritage: Building an Identity. Universidad Complutense, Spain, May 30-June 1, 2016