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Pérez, Laura. Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities
2007, Duke University Press
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Added by: Adriana Clavel-Vázquez
Publisher’s Note: This book examines the work of Chicana artists, feminist Mexican-Americans who aim at interrogating their identity through art. In this chapter, Pérez examines what she regards as “the general intellectual vindication of Indigenous epistemologies that characterized much of the thought and art of the Chicana/o movement”. She argues that, in opposition to the male Chicano perspective that characterized the early movement, Chicana artists embrace their Indigenousness in a way that aims not simply at antagonizing Eurocentric culture, but that aims at “a genuinely more decolonizing struggle at the epistemological level”. The chapter focuses on writers Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Ana Castillo, and Sandra Cisneros, and on artists Frances Salomé España, Yreina Cervántez, and Esther Hernández.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Pérez’s analysis is interesting for the aims of the blueprint for three reasons. First, it is interesting to see the role she grants to spirituality in the fight for social justice, particularly when it comes to gender, race, and ethnicity in the U.S. Second, it is interesting to see whether the emphasis on the connection between aesthetic practices and spirituality might help avoid mestiza aesthetics falling into appropriative practices. Finally, it is important to analyse mestiza culture in the U.S. to see whether it might offer any lessons for mestizo cultures in Latin America.

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