chapter  5
26 Pages

Art and the Movement: Chicano Murals and Community Space

The aim of this chapter is to explore and understand the Chicano Movement as it manifested itself in community-based and community-defi ning mural movements and the broader pan-Latino and interracial public arts movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Chicano Movement, like other social movements, was as much about claiming political, social, and visual space as it was about making historical claims to peoplehood. Artists in the barrios of California, Texas, and across the Mexican American diaspora sought to reshape the visual environment of their neighborhoods to unify people through images that created a shared cultural imaginary and placed the local community within the heroic narrative of Chicano history. The artists of the Chicano Movement represented its nationalist claims through the creation of territorialized community murals, yet the public mural movement was quite often an interracial and pan-Latino affair that linked progressives and minority group artists together in the space-claiming project of urban mural making.