Recent Acquisitions: Rupert Garcia, Raíces, 1984

Hood Quarterly, winter 2003

Raíces (1984) is the first work by Rupert Garcia (born 1941) to enter the Hood's collection. A pioneer in the Chicano arts movement, Garcia has been at the forefront of politically and socially engaged art for the past four decades.

Works like Raíces (Roots) mark a transition in Garcia's style from posters and single-figure paintings to monumental multipanel formats. Often done in pastel, these images combine vivid colors and disparate subjects to challenge the viewer to make new connections between the forms and ideas pictured by the artist.

Raíces juxtaposes a close-up of an Olmec head, a reference to Mexico's earliest civilizations, with a slightly abstracted image of the birthplace of the revolutionary figure Emiliano Zapata. Bridging nearly three millennia of Mexican history, Raíces represents another Orozco-like "epic" of American civilization, raising issues of permanence versus destruction, icons and their auras, and indigenous versus colonial histories. It is on view at the Hood through the end of January.

Written January 01, 2003