Artists inspired by Chicano culture
On Sept. 15 University of Texas at Brownsville welcomed the Serie Project to campus as a part of the art group’s 15-year anniversary in making Chicano artwork.
Art Director Celeste De Luna, a University of Texas-Pan American graduate, worked with the Serie Project to bring the exhibit to UTB. Created by Sam Coronado in 1993, the Project arose after Coronado attended a workshop that explained what Serigraphy is.
Serigraphy is different then the average work from paints and canvas. The artists use a transparency of the image they want to make, and then fashion it into a stencil, placing a mesh screen over the stencil to continue the process. James Beard, is the 25-year-old studio manager of Serie Project he explained the rest of the procedures in creating these pieces.
“With the stencil we push the ink through the mesh into the open stencil and we get, one by one, each color the artist needs,” Beard stated.
Beard has a BA in Russian language and literature from the University of South Carolina and is also a participating artist. He added that the artists use a range of from eight to 25 different colors and multiple stencils placed on top of each other, depending on what they want the end product to look like.
The Serie Project printing shop is located in Austin where Coronado lets his participating artists use his equipment to create their artwork. The artwork is used for the project’s exhibits, which have been showcased in Texas, the United Sates, Mexico, South America, and Europe.
The point of the artwork is to send the message out about Chicano culture and the struggles of the people. Beard explained that the works are based on Chicano art, which is a little different from pieces created in Mexico.
“A lot of the work is based off the farm workers movement, mainly out of California,” explained Beard.
Chicano was a name created out of pride for the Mexican-American heritage. Currently the name is attached to the political stand taken by Mexican-Americans in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“We have been very lucky to have a lot of our work collected by major institutions like the Smithsonian, The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and several universities,” Beard said.
Sept. 15 also kicked off the Hispanic Heritage Month, and Beard added this was a happy accident for the exhibit. The month of celebration goes hand in hand with what the group stands for.
“A lot of people know about the civil rights movement but not many people know that at the same time there was a whole Chicano movement,” Beard explained. “It’s a topic that is slowly picking up steam with institutes, it’s going to be important and relevant in our future.”
An attendee at the exhibit, Edinburg native Lilia Cabrera, had great interest in the process.
“It was a clever exhibit because it’s all dealing with silkscreen, serigraphy and they’re all Chicanos,” said Cabrera, who has been teaching in the UTPA art department since 2007.
Terry Necipoglu, a Donna native familiar with teaching art, believed that the pieces were examples of the lives we find in the Valley
“I think, ‘Oh! I know that!’ I would go to my grandma’s house and she would have a little shrine for ‘La Virgen’ there and then you would go and turn on ‘The Brady Bunch,’” Necipoglu recalled. “It’s a unique way of intertwining the two cultures because we are both.”
The exhibit will have an extended UTB stay until Oct. 16 at the Rusteberg Building. For more information, contact Celeste De Luna at Celeste.DeLuna@utb.edu.