The Chicano Art Movement signifies significant efforts by Mexican-American artists to create a distinct artistic identity within the United States.
Chicano art, traditionally made by Americans of Mexican descent, is strongly influenced by the Chicano Movement in the United States, which was part of the countercultural revolution in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Artists in this movement aimed to establish a collective identity that was positive, self-determined, and challenged racial stereotypes. Many of these artists drew inspiration from Mexican muralism and pre-Columbian art.
In 1990, a significant travelling exhibition called "Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation" opened at Wight Gallery at the University of California, Los Angeles. According to the exhibition's advisory committee, Chicano art is a modern expression of the Mexicano people's enduring cultural, economic, and political struggle in the United States. It affirms the complex identity and vitality of the Chicano people, shaped by their experiences in the Americas.
At the heart of this movement is the idea of "rasquachismo," which comes from the Spanish word "rasquache," meaning poor. It signifies a resourceful and improvisational attitude, often involving the use of readily available materials, drawing on community resources, or even incorporating elements from other art movements or postmodern theories.