La resolana: Chicano Artistic Imaginaries of Place, Race, and Activism in New Mexico and Texas, 1969–1985


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


This dissertation argues that Chicana/o artists in the Southwest's two most mythologized states—New Mexico and Texas—mobilize a strategy that melds the reclamation of generational and community-based knowledge and vernacular traditions with subversive historical revisionism to counter the racist and whitewashed mythologies and imaginaries of the Southwest and the West promoted by the tourist industry and in alignment with dominant settler colonial narratives. Spanning communities across the two states, the project considers four artists (Anita O. Rodríguez, Luis Jiménez, Melesio (Mel) Casas, and Santa Barraza) and contends that their work exemplifies the notion of La resolana, a colloquial term used in Northern New Mexico to refer to a sunny, wind-protected side of a building where villagers gather to exchange knowledge, stories, and the latest news. Impelled by the exigencies of the Chicano movement, in the late 1960s and early 1970s activists adopted resolana as key guiding principle and praxis.