Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity

Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity is a visual art exhibition highlighting the contributions of Chicano artists who have been active since the start of San Antonio’s Chicano arts movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition will be on display at Centro de Artes from February 13 to June 28, 2020.

Out of the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a cohort of talented Mexican-American artists emerged in San Antonio, Texas. Excluded from mainstream galleries and museums, these artists began to organize their own groups, exhibitions, and galleries, interweaving their shared artistic aspirations with commentaries on the social movements of the time. Many were employed as commercial artists, graphic designers, and sign painters. However, their passion was for fine art. Together, they opened new doors for one another and for future generations, and entered into an uncharted exploration of Chicano art, politics, and identity.

The exhibition titled Los Maestros: Early Explorers of Chicano Identity focuses on three of the underrepresented artists central to the early Chicano arts movement in San Antonio – Jesse Almazan, Jose Esquivel, and Rudy Treviño. All three artists were members of Con Safo, San Antonio’s first Chicano arts collective. This exhibition will focus on their unique contributions and histories as individual artists. This exhibition also marks the first public showing of Jesse Almazan’s work since his death in 2002. Jesse’s wife, Maggie Almazan, has loaned her collection and archives for the exhibition.Centro Cultural Aztlan is the curator of the Los Maestros exhibition. The organization’s Executive Director, Malena Gonzalez-Cid, began developing plans for the exhibition in 2018 through a series of interviews with the featured artists. Centro Cultural Aztlan was founded in 1977 and has been serving San Antonio for 43 years with a mission of preserving, developing and promoting Chicano and Latino art and culture.