- Artists' Statement
Resistencia United is a collaborative project funded and supported by Latino Center of Arts and Culture, Brown Issues, Burbank High School students, and artists Ruby Chacón, Nanibah Chacón, and Alma López. Through a participatory process with Burbank and Brown Issues, we led the team to shape their ideas through questions that led to brainstorms and photoshoots where they used their own bodies to enact a concept that we later used to design the mural. We questioned social justice, identity, and how narratives shape us. We talked about the master narratives that penetrate our lives, and the counter-narratives that resist the marginalized spaces forced upon us. Last, we unpacked the third narrative that does not exist within the binary descriptions of the master and counter-narratives. Much of the third space exists much like the Nepantla (the in-between spaces) as described by the scholar Gloria Anzaldúa. It is in those spaces that we created our personal and collective narratives that cannot be labeled or boxed in and rather are the more fluid elements of identity. Through our own stories of survival, celebrations, and slices of life, we created this mural. In doing so we have recreated our own spaces of belonging as a resistance to the propaganda that continues within our media outlets, and even now, in the most powerful position in the US—by the president. As a unit, we are strengthened, and as the mural reveals, in the fire we rise up as one, Resistencia United. [End Page 258] [End Page 259]
nanibah "nani" chacón is a painter, muralist, educator, art activist, and organizer. She was raised in Chinle, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her cultural heritage and experience being Dine and Chicana often informs her work as an artist and activist. Nani has had a prolific career as an artist, spanning close to twenty years and covering graffiti, illustration, fine art painting, art installation, murals, and public works. In 2002 she received her BA in education; she has since taught from kindergarten to college prep, both formally and informally, as an artist and mentor. As an artist Nani has won numerous recognition awards and has exhibited her work nationwide and internationally. Her recent endeavors focus on large-scale murals and public works pieces.
ruby chacón is a muralist originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and currently resides in Sacramento, California. She started her professional career twenty years ago after obtaining her BFA from the University of Utah, while also raising her son and nieces. Her work is driven by educational equity due to segregation that her family and community experienced pre-civil rights (and still does today); to change the school-to-prison pipeline track that impacted her own generation. As the only one to graduate from high school and college in her immediate family, this experience inspired the pathway she chose to create spaces of belonging for marginalized communities. Chacón founded an arts and activist nonprofit, Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA) in 2003, where she collaborated and worked with Mestizo Arts and Activism in 2008–13. Through research and community engagement she also co-created murals (as a lead artist) all over Utah, Wyoming, and Sacramento and abroad in Morocco and Thailand. She has participated in exhibits all over the US and abroad; participated on panels; been invited as a guest, keynote, and commencement speaker; and has been published in books and magazines. This breadth of work has earned her many awards and acknowledgments. Currently Ruby Chacón is finishing a mural with American River College students that reflects the current political climate, visually breaking down walls and creating educational pathways. Additionally, she is attending CSUS to obtain her teaching credential with the goal of creating murals within schools, and becoming a socially just educator through the arts.
alma elizabeth lópez was born and raised in Zamora, Michoacán, México, and immigrated to California with her family when she was nine years old. She received her...