Entre Tinta y Lucha
Curated by Sybil Venegas
Works from Self Help Graphics & Art’s Professional Printmaking Program stemming 35 + years of serigraphy production.
Artists: William Acedo, Chaz Bojorquez, Barbara Carrasco, Yreina Cervantez, Tito Delgado, Dolores Guerrero Cruz, Alma Lopez, Jose Lozano, Dalila Paola Mendez, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Sonia Romero, Shizu Saldamando
This exhibition is a testament and tribute to the role Self Help Graphics and its community of artists/activists have played in the history of printmaking in Los Angeles as well as in the development of the genre known as Chicana/o serigraphy and/or silkscreened, poster art.
We can trace the legacy of Self Help Graphics (SHG) as an internationally renowned print center to the popular, political serigraphs of Sister Mary Corita Kent, who was among a small group of Los Angeles based artists who popularized silkscreen printing in the 1960s as an accessible, grassroots, politically conscious medium of artistic production. Sister Karen Boccalero, founder and executive director of Self Help Graphics studied with Sister Corita at Immaculate Heart College and was greatly influenced by her pedagogy, which emphasized social justice while inspiring creativity in individuals as well as collectively in community. In 1971, Sister Karen founded Self Help Graphics in East Los Angeles, based on the idea of a creative collective teaching art to the community. Throughout the 1970s SHG nurtured a vibrant artist community through community arts education, silkscreen poster art, and the affirmation of Mexican cultural heritage via Day of the Dead iconography and public practice. While these activities put SHG in the forefront of Los Angeles’ cultural arts activism throughout the decade, it would be the Atelier Program that would solidify SHG’s growing national and international reputation as a producer of Chicana/o and multicultural fine arts prints.
SHG established their first annual Atelier Program in 1983, funded in part by a series of limited edition screenprints by Gronk produced in 1982, considered the initial effort in the creation of the first Atelier Program. From 1983 to the present time, SHG’s Atelier Program has provided a successful template for providing well-known artists with a state of the art print studio, a master printer and a commercial outlet for the sale of the Atelier’s final products. It has nurtured the creative vision of hundred of artists working collectively in the Print Workshops. As we move towards the close of the second decade of the new millennium, SHG remains a vital and progressive force in the art world. However, it will be important that future practices acknowledge the artistic path that brought the organization to this present moment in time.
In recent years, the rapid and dramatic transformation of Los Angeles, the aging and loss of first generation SHG artists and the continuing efforts to establish gender equity in terms of Atelier participation and production are important issues facing the future of SHG. However, with continued artistic vision and demonstrated leadership in the arts, the organization will sustain itself as an important creative and progressive voice in the Chicano/Latino community. The Printmaking Summit is a testament to that.
The 16 prints on display in this exhibition were selected from a group of 40 prints chosen to represent SHG printmaking legacy. My selections intend to document the breath of the Atelier Programs through the generations of participating artists, particularly with attention given to early work of first generation SHG artists as well as women artists. It was a great challenge given all the great work and I would like to thank Joel Garcia and Betty Avila for inviting me to participate as the curator for this exhibition.