(un)making episode 33: Jesus Barraza

(un)making

(un)making episode 33: Jesus Barraza

By Weston Teruya September 18, 2018

Weston Teruya welcomes artists, arts administrators, and cultural workers of color to get real about their lives, practices, and careers. Each episode is an in-depth look into how art gets made, but more importantly how these folks are seeing to the system of art’s (UN)making.


We kick off (un)making’s third season with an investigation into the theme of “movement,” with a conversation with artist and educator, Jesus Barraza. Through his many collaborations and community projects, particularly with his partner Melanie Cervantes and their work together under the banner Dignidad Rebelde, Jesus has helped to produce many of the political graphics and prints that continue to shape the visual identity for movements that are radical, feminist, and centered on people of color, in the San Francisco Bay Area and globally. Jesus roots this practice in struggles for social justice and in generations of creative knowledge, stories, and production. As he notes in the course of the interview, this work draws on a long and complex history of print, mural, and socially engaged practices within Indigenous and Xicanx communities—a constantly growing tradition that he now passes along to his students. We talk about Indigenous spiritualities, the community workshop as a cultural practice, and the ways Dignidad Rebelde’s political analysis has been shaped by Xicanisma and the Zapatistas.

 

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Jesus Barraza is an interdisciplinary artist, co-founder of Dignidad Rebelde (a graphic-arts collaboration that produces screen prints, political posters, and multimedia projects), and a member of JustSeeds Artists Cooperative, a decentralized group of political artists based in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. He proudly continues the tradition of graphic art in the spirit of Jose Gaudalupe Posada, OSPAAAL, and Juan R. Fuentes, whose artwork has been part a pivotal part of social movements. Barraza has exhibited locally and internationally in institutions including Galeria de la Raza (San Francisco); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe); Mexican Fine Arts Center (Chicago); Parco Museum (Tokyo), Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), and El Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore (Bolivia). He is a recipient of the Art is a Hammer award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. Barraza holds an MFA in social practice and MA in visual critical studies from California College of the Arts and a BA in raza studies from San Francisco State University.

 

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