Art show hits South Gate

Fatima Montiel and the Dean of South Gate Al Rios preview the Chicano Studies students’ artwork. COURTESY OF RAUL HERRERA

By Jose Zuniga

Bringing attention to Chicano art, Chicano Studies 54 is hosting a show entitled “Titeocalli” from May 24 to 26 at the South Gate campus.

The students’ artwork will be displayed in room 105 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Gate campus.

According to the Chicano Studies instructor Raul Herrera, students from the class use many approaches to understand the Chicano art.

Not only do the students participate hands-on by creating art, but they also learn about the artwork itself and the history behind Chicano artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Cicero.

Herrera said that the class is split into two parts.

The first half of class centered on learning the history of Mexican-American art through lectures.

In the second half, students apply this knowledge to the art they create.

“I think this class demonstrates and allows students to feel proud of their own work. Not only that but (it helps students) to look deep inside of who they are. Students who are not trained artists are creating art,” said Herrera.

Herrera said that he employs different methods of learning because some people are oral learners and some are better with their hands.

The art show is titled “Titeocalli,” which translates to “Our House of Energy.”

Herrera said that students have to write a paper, present it and insert their own personal experiences.

For extra credit, students are allowed to create an artistic self-portrait.

“The class shows that learning is fun (and that) learning doesn’t have to be complex,” said Herrera.

For their midterm, students had to create a retablo, which is a box that is adorned with religious art and objects used to represent Chicano religious practices of the past.

The student’s work reflected on this, but also on different themes that could be adopted from the student’s personal lives such as the difference between living in a rich home and a poor one.

Students can then take leadership roles that are used to expose their artwork or to enhance it.

There’s even a person assigned to relations with the media.

Fatima Montiel, a psychology major, said that she likes the class because she can find a direct connection to it.

“The class allows me to connect to art,” said Montiel in reference to her own Chicano roots.

Crystal Garibay, a sociology major, said, “He gives us that extra little push which some teachers don’t do.”

Apart from an in-depth look into Chicano history and constantly turning in reviews of the artwork they studied, one assignment per week, the class also took a trip to the Museum of Latino Art in Long Beach.

Herrera used art in almost every convention, even the flyers for the event are part of the class.

Students spent time in class drawing or making the flyers look well-drawn and artistic to promote their final projects.

Raul Silva, a business major, said, “Where I live, you drive and see these murals. I really didn’t pay attention to them until I took this class.”

However, it’s not all about drawing, as most students claim that they do a lot of writing as well, according to Herrera.

Yet that doesn’t keep students from doing the work.

Elizabeth Fernandez, Sociology major, said, “This is the one class I don’t miss.”

Mike Gomez, who is majoring in advertising, said, “I like the class. It really makes you appreciate art and you actually have fun while learning about the Chicano community.”


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