Art focuses on Chicana struggle

CHICANA INJUSTICES—Reading concludes with a prayer and song about the moon. CN/Lourdes Espinoza

By Lourdes Espinoza

As a supplement to “After The Gold Rush: Reflections and Postscripts on the National Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970,” the Vincent Price Art Museum has hosted a number of postscript events for the duration of the exhibition through Dec. 16.

“Cuentos De Amor y Resistencia: The Tenacity of Chicana Artistic Expression” was held Saturday from noon – 3 p.m. inside the small gallery, lecture hall and lobby of the Vincent Price Art Museum.

In addition to “After The Gold Rush,” “Cuentos De Amor” held a close-up and personal account of the hardships Chicanas felt and strongly fought against as the National Chicano Moratorium and its movement were executed during the ‘70s.

“Cuentos De Amor” started off with readings which took place inside the small gallery by Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin and Estella Gonzalez who both reflected on growing up as women in America.

Chamberlin’s reading revolved around poetry and appealed to women from the border that have had their innocent voices silenced violently through drug cartels and the exploitation of politics.

All four of Chamberlin’s poetic pieces were thoughtfully dedicated to certain groups of people like “Mujeres en la Frontera” and “All of Us.”

Some of her work, such as portraits and street theater masks and puppets were on display during the reading as part of the “After The Gold Rush” exhibit. Gonzalez was personally invited by Chamberlin for the reading portion of the postscript.

Her reading was an excerpt from a book in progress and dealt more with the cultural alienation much of Chicano youth goes through as they are raised in contemporary America. The symposium portion of the event included Judithe Hernandez, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Maria Elena Gaitan and Devra Weber.

During this panel, these artists were introduced and slide shows of their work over the years along with their involvement with the Chicano Moratorium and its movement were being shown inside the lecture hall.

Chamberlin’s career and involvement during the Chicano Moratorium revolved around women and children as she used street theater and political essays to speak out against the tragedies and injustices Chicanos faced. She worked with many theaters in Mexico including the Teatro De Los Ninos in Mexico City.

One of her last remarks regarding the activist aspect of the movement was, “Nobody can take your words away, stand up and speak your truth.”

Judithe Hernandez, whose colorful yet powerful murals have been displayed along Los Angeles in places like Stoner Recreation Center and the Ramona Gardens Housing Projects, shared how she became involved in the Chicano Movement since the late ’60s and has been unable to detach herself from the Chicano Movement ever since.

Her work was also on display and much of her work has been recognized nationwide as well as in Mexico and France.

Lastly, Maria Elena Gaitan spoke passionately about her participation with the movement and the appalling lack of support for women by both the community and, most importantly, the men who held important roles during this political era. Being both condemned and applauded by the L.A. Times, she was featured in the L.A. Times Pulitzer Prize Series.

Having played the cello for the majority of her life, Gaitan goes by the rubric of “Chola con Cello” and continues to use her performance art abilities continuously to this day.

This postscript concluded with a performance which headlined an interesting ensemble of musical talent. Maria Elena Gaitan and her cello joined Sid Medina, from The Brat, Xiuy Velo and Will Herron III, both members from Los Illegals.

Ixya Herrera joined as guest vocalist as this ensemble covered “La Llorona.”

Other tracks included “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath and “Working-Class Hero” by John Lennon.

The historical event of the Chicano Moratorium continues to be a threshold for those who have yet ceased to fight the injustices placed upon Chicanos and Chicanas. This event was also fueled by the historical context of all of the art work that has contributed. The artistic and political achievements of these artists are available for viewing through Dec. 16.

“After The Gold Rush: Reflections and Postscripts on the National Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970” is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday noon – 4 p.m., Thursday noon – 7 p.m. and every second Saturday of the month noon – 4 p.m.

The next related event is scheduled for Nov. 12 and includes a performance with Louie Perez, Luis Rodriguez and Luis Torres along with film screenings by Jesus Trevino.

More information can be found at


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