Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Visions of Aztlan

Aztlan, like Machu Pichu, or any other geographical spiritual destination can have multiple layers to it. For some the most important layer is political, for others it is heritage, for yet others it is both philosophical and spiritual. Artist Magu Lujan has been leading Mental Menudos for years where discussions about this the topic of the spiritual and practical intersect for several decades.

For artists like Barbara Carrasco developing their skills in the 60s and 70s drew upon elements of identity and expression in a way that was drawn from community experiences and at the same time found ways for personal expression. Like the artists of the Harlem Renaissance, artists in the Southwest looked at their communities, their "place" in society, and expressed their art - drawn, spoken, or written - in a way that was unique to that time and place.

On May 6, at 9 P.M. KCET will air Jesus Treviño's Visions of Aztlan. Jesus has directed and edited this documentary. In all likelihood you've seen work that he has done. His work runs the gamut: Resurrection Blvd., Bones, Babylon 5, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, etc. What you may not have seen has been work that is focused on the Chicano experience. Seguin, Chicano, La Raza Unida and other titles.

Visions of Aztlan will undoubtedly include clips of artists who who, to quote Luis Torres, journalist and friend, "drew inspiration from the activism and cultural awareness that surrounded them..." It has allowed filmmakers like Armando Acevedo to make sure that those visions do not fade away. And allows them to develop their own sensibilities of what Aztlan means to them.

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