Dignidad Rebelde – Art in Action The Contrabando Series Dignidad Rebelde features finished work and works-in-progress by the East Bay collective comprised of Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes. For over ten years, this dynamic pair of innovators has played a prominent role in community activism by producing works and running workshops focused on creating dialogue around social justice issues while building bridges between communities. Whether printing in their studios, organizing youth in the schools, or working with disenfranchised communities in the Bay Area and Latin America, their mission of fostering social change via the production and distribution of iconic silkscreen posters is boldly articulated. This narrative collage of their diverse works provides us a view of the political landscape and intellectual climate of the times, calling for our understanding of current social movements and the role each of us plays in this larger reality.
Historically, the exhibition brings Galería full circle in a celebration of the 39 years we have supported the use of art as a vehicle to communicate important political issues.
While the works in the exhibition bring contemporary concerns to light, we are reminded of the countless hours and endless dedication that artists such as Ralph Maradiaga, Yolanda Lopez, René Yañez, Ester Hernandez and Rupert Garcia poured into their daily practice during the early years of el movimiento. The vision of these artists and the many others that worked throughout California in the early 70’s still visibly resonates with this recent generation of artists and activists, underscoring the meaningful link between culture, artistic expression and community development.
Dignidad Rebelde is the first of a series of exhibitions entitled Contrabando (Smuggled Goods). The series celebrates the ingenuity enlivened in times of economic instability, whereby individuals and communities pool together available resources creating alternative and often heightened forms of sustainability and inspiration. The exhibitions in the series will be comprised of works that can potentially fit in a suitcase, as the artists intervene the gallery in inventive and unexpected ways. This particular process-based exhibition will transform Galería into a vibrant studio space and public meeting ground for the breeding of creative thought and collective inspiration. Raquel de Anda Associate Curator