Identity, as a core expression of one’s subject position, is a recurrent topic in Chicano art. Set against the racialized systems of the US and within the context of the complex matrix of the borderlands — a concept that moves beyond geographies to inhabit the self — the space of identity is not fixed or stagnate, but is rather negotiated and constantly evolving. Identity emerged as a critical subject in US Latino art in the twentieth century, often reflecting the in-betweenness of nationalisms and bifurcated cultural imaginaries of the immigrant experience, and in relationship to histories of colonization.

The Chicano Art movement concretized the importance for speaking about identity as a means of empowerment and self-awareness. The era of Identity Politics in the 1980s and early 1990s that followed reflected deep inquiry into the subject, which in turn was trailed by a rejection of identity-based art beginning in the mid-to-late 1990s, played out against the backdrop of the rise of globalism at the turn of the 21st century. In the current millennial period, intersections and the cross-pollinating of images, ideas and concepts worldwide situate issues of identity in Chicano art within globalized discourse. In this expanded playing field, identity finds renewed footing in our multiplatform image-based era.

Chicano art has developed not only as an expression of political and collective identity, but is also reflective of an incredibly diverse and nuanced landscape of artistic practices, ranging from engagement with any and all major art movements, interrogating areas of personal artistic exploration, addressing questions of gender, race, class and more. The notion of mapping identity is one that allows us to survey and contemplate responses to broad cultural questions, including the politics of positionality and place, and gestures that denote both inner and outer worlds of the self.

Pilar Tompkins Rivas

Building Bridges in Time of Walls is an unprecedented collaboration between AltaMed Health Services and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura. In partnership with Mexico’s Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero and the director of the Instituto de Bellas Artes y Literatura, Lucina JiménezBuilding Bridges is presented by Cástulo de la Rocha, President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services; and Zoila D. Escobar, President, AltaMed Foundation.

AltaMed Health Services serves Latino, multi-ethnic, and underserved communities in Southern California, and as part of its holistic approach to healthcare, exhibits its art collection throughout all its clinics and service sites, whose subjects reflect the diverse communities it serves.

To learn more about the AltaMed Art Collection, click here

Exhibition partners

Presented by



Virtual Inauguration with Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT)

THURSDAY, JUL 9, 2020 8:00 AM

Celebrate the launch of the online exhibition of Building Bridges in Time of Walls in this virtual reception with special guests from Mexico’s Secretary of Culture, the Instituto de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL), and AltaMed.
Visit the event HERE

AltaMed Foundation
2040 Camfield Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90040
[email protected] | (323) 914-6101

All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Our Tax ID number is: 95-2810095.
© 2024 AltaMed