While still a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, Prof. Tomas Sanchez (MA 1975 History) began collecting works of art that represented the history, culture, and contemporary experiences of Chicanos in California. Though he started with posters, Sanchez began to acquire prints in the early 1980s by the young artists he met and befriended during gallery outings in southern California. ¡Chicanismo! represents only a small portion of the impressive collection Sanchez has assembled throughout a lifetime of study and acquisitions. It is notable as well for including artists who have gone on to achieve great acclaim. A large number of works, no doubt a consequence of Prof. Sanchez’s own Chicano pride and sociopolitical activism, relate to gender, Chicano identity, historically significant Mexican figures, and Mesoamerican iconography. A unique series of New Mexican retablos (sacred devotional paintings) by contemporary masters that Sanchez acquired while on his yearly travels are also included in this presentation. ¡Chicanismo! highlights the enduring cultural vibrancy of Chicana/os, and the power and strength of their artistic contributions. Artists in the exhibition include Carlos Almaraz, Charlie Carrillo, Marie Romero Cash, Roberto Tito Delgado, Diane Gamboa, Roberto Gil de Montes, Salomon Huerta, Leo Limon, Frank Romero, and Patssi Valdez.
This exhibition is mounted in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Chicana/o Studies Department. Prof. Sanchez was an early student in the department and credits his experiences at UC Santa Barbara as instrumental to his success as a professor of history having taught full time at Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura Colleges. The AD&A Museum thanks Prof. Sanchez for sharing his collection and stories.
IMAGE: Salomon Huerta, Las Tres Novelas de mi Vida (detail), oil on tin, 23 x 20 in.