Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer: A community-based art center managed by the Chicana/o Studies Department at UC Davis

Homenaje al maestro Juan Fuentes

Posted on January 29, 2017

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Our gallery will be open February 3rd till April 5th:

  • Tuesday-Thursdays: 9 am – 6 pm
  • Fridays: 9 am – 4 pm
  • Saturdays 11 am – 4 pm

Homenaje al maestro Juan Fuentes: An Exchange

 

Juan Fuentes: First I want to thank the staff and volunteers at TANA for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work here in Woodland, it is an honor.

 

TANA: The honor is ours, Juan. TANA wanted to pay homage to your work because your creative philosophy reflects our own mission as artists, teachers, and community activists. When did you first begin to see the connection between the arts and political activism? How did it shape your trajectory as an artist?

 

Juan Fuentes: While a student at SF State in the 1970’s I was exposed to the struggle for an Ethnic Studies department and the mass mobilizations against the war in Vietnam. I supported both struggles mainly by marching with other students. These were my first expressions of resistance, later during my studies I was introduced to Chicano artists Rupert Garcia and Malaquias Montoya. Both played a major role in developing my consciousness as a Chicano, but in particular it was their approach to making art that inspired and pushed me to be an artist/activist. It did not take much effort on my part to connect, coming from a farmworker family. The hardships and injustices that I saw first hand growing up in the farmworker fields of Monterey County immediately gave me an understanding of the struggle of the United Farmworkers and why it was important to support their efforts for better working conditions.

 

TANA: TANA works with a lot of young people and they’re always curious how one becomes an artist. How did you first start drawing and painting? What were some of your earliest creative influences?

 

Juan Fuentes: I guess I was lucky to have accidently come upon the Art Department at SF State. One day while walking back to the dorms I noticed and heard lots of banging going on and so I investigated the noise. It was a class of sculpture students in front of the Art Department, this prompted me to investigate further and I entered the building. As I made my way through every department I came out and new that this was where I wanted to study. It just felt like I was finally connected to the school. I took my first introductory art class with professor Ralph Putzker and he was the single most important influence on how I would begin to see the world through art. My degree is in painting and drawing but I’m mostly known as a printmaker. My earliest influences were my grandmother and mother. They were always making quilts, knitting and making various other objects to be used around the home.

 

Having had no experience in art prior to SF State meant that I had to work really hard to catch up. My love for drawing is what challenges and inspires me print and thus to create a new work.

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TANA: The figures in your work are from different cultural backgrounds. Often people assume that Chicano Art is just about the Mexican American community, but you represent people from all around the world, from the Americas to the Middle East. What influences your subject matter?

 

Juan Fuentes: In 1974 I got the chance to go to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade and we helped build homes just outside of Habana. The work by Cuban artists on billboards and posters that reflected and supported the Cuban Revolution inspired me and helped raise my international consciousness. I have always seen myself as a Chicano artist but I have strived to include the struggles of Native Americans, Asians, African and African Americans, Latin Americans and in particular the struggles in Palestine. As artists we need to include and connect with all peoples of the world that are fighting injustices. If we see ourselves as part of a global community we will have a better chance to resist what the corporate world would have us believe. To be honest the people of the world who are mostly people of color are the most beautiful and interesting for me to use as subjects for my work. If I create a work of art as a Chicano it is “Chicano Art” without having to make any references to my cultural identity.

 

TANA: Your work has a political message but it’s also focused on the craft of printmaking. You’re incredibly skilled and clearly your work takes hours upon hours to complete. With technology today, there are many platforms for sharing political messages and distributing political imagery. What do you feel is different about the engagement of making and viewing political posters such as yours? What do you hope viewers take away from your work?

 

Juan Fuentes: When I began making posters in the 1970’s they functioned as posters to be placed on walls, store front windows and people put them up in their homes. They were used to inform and to resist. With our current technology the need for these posters has diminished in some cases, but at the same time we can distribute a poster around the world electronically. Thus the poster has taken on a new role, I’m not opposed to technology if it advances our people’s struggles. I have been able to send my posters to the Middle East, Europe and Latin America by the use of the internet and they have reproduced them for use there. In this way it has given my posters and prints a new function and I hope that in some ways people will be able to react to them and thus create a critical conversation in regards to issues regardless of whether they agree with them or not.

 

TANA: And lastly, as we enter the era of Trump, what advice do you have for young artists and activists?

 

Juan Fuentes: As an artist and activist I made a commitment many years ago to fight the system until it is removed and replaced with something that really represents working people of all races. So until this happens we will continue to resist the powers that exploit us as they continue to attack our cultural institutions. I have lived through the Nixon and two Bush administrations so a Trump one just gives me more “Ganas” to fight back.

New Year, New Session: 2017

Posted on January 9, 2017

With a new year ahead, we invite you to come to our Demonstration Day on Wednesday, January 18th from 4 – 6 p.m. As a new political era dawns, come and join our community of printmakers to continue the legacy of printing in the Chicano Movement. This Demonstration Day is mandatory if you are interested in joining our free class this Winter Session, as we have 20 slots available.

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If you are also interested, Woodland Community College is holding two courses at our studio in the evening. Both Beginning Drawing and Beginning Painting will be taught by our Artist in Residence Jaime Montiel. If you are a high school student, you may register for the class you are interested for free and receive college credit. See the flyer for more info!

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If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our manager at damiranda@ucdavis.edu

Para Ruben

Posted on December 1, 2016

Ruben Contreras is a six year old boy who changed the City of Woodland.

As a former HeadStart student of the Yolo County Office of Education, Ruben has touched many hearts. Lori Perez and Ismael Hernandez who are both educators and community members here in Woodland brought this project into TANA with the hopes of creating more smiles for Ruben as he has a rare form of cancer. Many high school students from Woodland High School came in on the weekends to spend time on building a series of prints to create a story book for Ruben. One of our senior interns, Roberto Paniagua, helped take lead on the project. You can check out some pictures of the process below, as well as the story itself.

According to Perez:

“The students were inspired from information about Ruben. His passion, strength, and heart quickly helped us realize that he is our super hero!! His love of superheroes and love of his community helped us write this story. He recently went on a ride along with the Woodland Fire Department and he was smiling ear to ear.”

This project helped the students learn about giving to others and helped them develop an understanding of community. If you would like to support Ruben checkout his Facebook page!

 

Ayotzinapa: La lucha sigue!

Posted on November 16, 2016

After two years of creating one of the most powerful social movements of recent times in Mexico, representatives of the Ayotzinapa community are touring the United States. Felipe de la Cruz Sandoval and Mario Cesar Gonzalez Contreras, two key members of the Ayotzinapa movement stopped in town at TANA as part of their national tour.

 

Their visit marks the second anniversary of the 43 students disappearance by giving talks about issues that are causing social and political unrest and instability in Mexico during the current President Pena Nieto’s administration such as the education and energy reforms, drug and human trafficking and how they are linked to US foreign policy and Mexican migration as well as to give personal testimony and update on the disappearance of the 43 normal students. Segments of the documentary Mirar Morir was shown.

 

The Ayotzinapa movement was born out of the struggle for justice by the parents of the 43 teaching students forcefully disappeared after an attack in Iguala, Guerrero by members of the Mexican authorities on September 26, 27 of 2014.

 

A special thank you to Señor Sandoval, Señor Contreras, Cirenio Rodriguez, and Reyna Granda!

 

Día de los Muertos Community Gathering

Posted on November 8, 2016

Our Día de los Muertos celebration is our largest event of the year. Our studio transforms into a space where community can come together to celebrate, practice, and be exposed to their culture and their loved ones. This is only possible because community members like you are willing to co-create the space alongside us. So many thanks to the TANA Crew, all the families and altaristas, all of the volunteers, Joaquin Galvan, Alejandro Espinoza, Esmeralda Raya, Ballet Folklorico de Woodland High School, and all the local businesses that donated food for our event. It was a great afternoon of music, food, and good company! Check out the pictures below to see all the altars and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

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