Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (or CARA) was a traveling exhibit of Chicano/a artists which toured the United States from 1990 through 1993. CARA visited ten major cities and featured over 128 individual works by about 180 different Chicano/a artists. The show was also intended to visit Madrid and Mexico City. CARA was the first time a Chicano exhibit received major attention from the press and it was the first exhibit that collaborated between Chicanos and major museums in the U.S. The show was considered a “notable event in the development of Chicano art.” Another unique feature of CARA was the “extensive planning” that attempted to be as inclusive as possible and which took place more than five years prior to the opening at Wight Art Gallery.
The final touring exhibit included paintings, murals and installations. Over forty murals were shown via slideshow. The first section of the show contained a short history of Chicanos going back to the pre-Columbian era, discussing the concept of Aztlán and including significant events up until 1965. The other areas of the exhibit were divided into themes that were representative of the Chicano movement: Feminist Visions, Reclaiming the Past, Regional Expressions and Redefining American Art. There were also three separate spaces devoted to the important Chicano collective arts movements, Asco, Los Four and the Royal Chicano Air Force. Uniquely, at the time for an museum show, the art was shown in context with the history and politics of the Chicano movement. In addition, the art shown in the exhibit was “created by Chicanos for other Chicanos.”
CARA’s name is also a play on words since the Spanish word for face is cara.
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The CARA exhibit was created through the joint actions of the Wight Art Gallery at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the CARA National Advisory Committee. These two groups started planning in 1984, but the idea for the exhibit began in 1983, when Cecelia Klein, Shifra Goldman, and several graduate students (Maria de Herrera, Holly Barnet-Sanchez and Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino) asked the new director of the Wight Art Gallery, Edith Tonelli, about creating a unique Chicano art exhibit. The Wight Art Gallery, with help from Klein and Goldman, applied for funds from the National Endowmen