Opening Exhibition: Creando Fuerza

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our graduating seniors: Roberto Paniagua, Michelle Paredes-Colonia, Jessica Orozco, and Michelle Alvarez! You can read more about their art work below and check out some of the pictures from the Opening Reception.

TANA: Part of our mission is to use culture to raise consciousness. In our workshops, we teach that the silkscreen medium can be a tool to address issues that impact our community. What are some of the issues that your work addresses?

Michelle Alvarez: All of my work is based on the experience of students who identify as undocumented. Some of us do not qualify for any of the existing laws and deferred actions that allows undocumented students to receive financial aid, and therefore school becomes extremely expensive. However, we still somehow manage to make it, and graduate.

Jessica Orozco: In my work you’ll find prints that address social issues ranging from educational systems to gendered norms. This medium has allowed me to not only bring attention to important issues, but it has also facilitated the sharing of knowledge.

Michelle Paredes-Colonia: My work focuses on sending and spreading messages and awareness of social justice and political movements. In these prints, I am addressing the political climate today with my prints, “Nuestra Revolución” and “Dejanos Volar.” “Nuestra Revolucioón” with the take back of rebellion towards hate and the Trump Administration and having the Latino community stand together. My “Dejanos Volar” print aims to share the importance of immigrant rights, and to stop the ICE raids and detention centers. Lastly, Bernie Sanders as “El Commandante” Che Guevara. Che represented youthful rebellion and in this last presidential campaign Bernie was seen as the same. Fighting for the people for the greater good.

Roberto Paniagua: I bring awareness to the migration experience lived by many minorities, children under USA colonialism and the nation’s involvement in Latin America and abroad. I am also an advocate for shilren. I believe that much Chicano/a Art has focused on grown folxs, men , women, but the youth most often is not reflected. Los Cipotes y las Cipotas are words that are adopted from Nahuatl meaning children. Incorporating the children and making this art accessible to children is one of my biggest goals. In these prints you’re able to see that the youth are key participants in the struggle. They do now know why they are migrating, they do not understand war, they do not understand USA involvement in the world, but they do understand the love of a mother, a father, and siblings. We’re able to see the innocence of their struggle. They are voces inocentes.

TANA: As one of our interns you helped run our silk screening workshops. For you, what is the importance of community engagement through the arts? Can you share any reflections about your TANA experience?

Michelle Alvarez: I believe the engagement of the community through arts is extremely important. From what I’ve seen at TANA, I can say that art, silk screen specifically, is a way of liberating oneself. Sometimes people do not want to talk about issues regarding social justice because they are scared of what other folks in the community might think, and printing becomes a way of expressing their thoughts and feelings without saying much and a lot at the same time. My TANA experience has not only been rewarding it has also empowered me to keep silkscreen printing. I often encourage students to print about issues that inspire them and motivate them to keep printing and keep attending workshops. I have met different students who have developed their own styles and the topic of their prints are related to each other.

Jessica Orozco: Community engagement is one of the ways The Arts come alive. The use of this medium as a form of community engagement has allowed me to make connections with the various community members who utilize the space. In any other instance, I am not sure the opportunity to converse with people from all walks of life would’ve been possible. Because of this, intergenerational knowledge is shared within the space. My experience working at TANA has reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career that ensures the wellbeing of marginalized communities. Everyday at TANA is a little different form the last and I’ve truly enjoyed the vibes built around this. Some of the most memorable moments at TANA have been tied to the young artists who have grown into themselves. The ability to witness a young person grow and become confident not only with their medium, but also themselves is truly life-changing.

Michelle Paredes-Colonia: For many years, art in the Chicano/a community has been seen as a form of history, oral history and visual history in this case. This has become a way for our people to heal and share our past in ways that others could understand and that’s what we continue to do with out art. Silk screening has been a form of resistance and healing, especially within my community. I find that this is important to keep this cultural practice alive and a way to communicate within communities, generations, ethnicities, countries, anything. Being a TANA intern has been an amazing experience. Not only to continue my art but mainly to be within community. Building and learning from one another not only from other interns but also from the students and volunteers. Knowledge has been obtainable from everybody. It has been a gratifying grand experience special thanks to the taller manager, taller director, and taller co-founders.

Roberto Paniagua: I believe that the silkscreen print is a unique medium because the artist and the community can see change in their art, in their communities, and in themselves. I have seen many students come in to TANA, not knowing how to print, or never having been given the opportunity to create art in their schools or community. They often tell me that they cannot sketch or make comments how they are not artistic enough. I challenge them that the silkscreen process is not about creating a majestic or a beautiful piece, I tell them it’s about the experience of creating such art in community, it is about their struggle, effort, imagination, and identity. We introduce each student to a Rini Templeton or Motifs for their first assignment. I tell these students to choose an image that they can relate to, and I tell them how their first print is going to be one that you can always remember the most. Believe me, when you ask someone to choose and to create something they can relate to . conversation and dialogue starts. You start to understand that this individual has chosen the campesino, las mujeres, a bold butterfly, and a courageous perro motif. All of these images that these students have chosen are themes, and images that speak about this student community, family, and self. Something really unique that Drucella, Xabi, and the other interns have started doing is that we have challenged ourselves to take the arts or bring the taller to those most in need. I personally have given my communiity engagement to those most in need. For example, I have taken the taler and the silk screen medium to my Chicano/a studies classes (Professor Ofelia, Natalia, Diaz, Angie, and Torreiro-Cassal), migrant centers, and the Woodland youth. We do not do this to get an award, or for money, we do this because we have a loving heart and we know the struggle of the community. Have you ever seen the reaction a Woodland youth makes when he puts his fingers on the squeegee, and he presses he notices something on the printing board, and it is a poster he has created like never before? I love to see that. Have you ever been invited to come back to do a workshop in the migrant camps of Winters, Dixon, Woodland, and Knights Landing? That community engagement is meaningful, bringing the taller wherever we can. Believe me, slowly poco a poco, we are making familia in TANA. You notice the students tart bringing their siblings, classmates, and even UC Davis faculty come in with their classes to do posters for a rally or demonstration. They are coming because we have shown them that we do such art with a loving heart. Whenever they ask us to teach them or to have a silk screen demo, we answer with a joyous smile.

TANA: Gracias, TANA interns, for all of your hard work!

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Published by TANA

TANA: Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer is a community based art center managed by the Chicana/o Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. TANA is located at 1224 Lemen Avenue in Woodland, California.

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