Galeria de la Raza is pleased to present YTREBIL, a solo exhibition featuring prints and drawings by San Francisco based artist, Enrique Chagoya. Born in Mexico City in the mid-1950s, Chagoya came to the U.S. in 1977. As a result, his work is immersed in the contradictions of "belonging" to both sides of the border. Within the framework of his work, "the border" refers not only to his bi-national, bi-cultural identity, but also to conceptual borders and the fine line that divides colonial and post-colonial interpretations of power.
Known for working with concepts he terms "reverse art history" and “reverse anthropology” Chagoya utilizez icons, personas and images of a dominant mainstream culture and examines them from an outsiders perspective. By integrating content from pop-culture such as cartoon and tattoo imagery, Chagoya creates familiar entries for the viewer to understand the more dominant forces at play and the constructs that have shaped our history. His synthesys of pre-columbian imagery, with contemporary pop figures and religious iconography, creates the potential for a variety of narratives to emerge relating to immigration, identity and our complex history.
The title of Chagoya’s exhibit captures this “reverse” perspective in the term “Ytrebil,” which is “Liberty” spelled backwards and is incorporated in his drawing by that name. His newer works explore the themes of illegal immigration, racial stereotypes, and xenophobia in a post-9/11 world, and the influences of colonialism in the present.
Born in Mexico City, Chagoya has lived in Europe and the United States. He earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MA and MFA from UC Berkeley. Now a professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, Chagoya has received many honors, and his work has been shown nationally and internationally. In 1995 he won a residency to live and work at Monet’s Giverny gardens outside of Paris, France, and in 1999 he was artist-in-residence at the Cité International des Arts in Paris. In the fall of 2007 the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa launched a 25-year survey exhibition of his work that traveled to the Berkeley Art Museum and the Palm Springs Museum in California. His work can be found in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. From 1987 to 1990 Chagoya served as artistic director of Galería de la Raza.