Chicano Time Capsule, Nelli Quitoani
January 22 - April 17, 2022
For forty years, the late Chicano artist and cartoonist Sergio Hernandez has echoed important cultural topics and socio-political issues of the Chicano community. Early on, Hernandez began working for “Con Safos Magazine”, the first Chicano literary magazine. Upon being recruited by “Con Safos” member and artist Tony Gomez, Hernandez began to align his practice with themes related to the emerging Chicano Movement or “El Movimiento”. The Chicano Movement was and still is geared toward advocating for “social and political empowerment through “chicanismo”, the idea of taking pride in one’s Mexican-American heritage, or cultural nationalism.”
Across painting, cartoons, and murals, Hernandez satires socio-political happenings and provides an intimate perspective of the Chicano community. Influenced by Chicano culture, iconography, and artists alike, Hernandez’s work became a beacon calling for action and attention to the harsh realities faced by the Chicano community. The artworks in this exhibition are a small yet compelling collection of Hernandez’s contribution to the Chicano art and power movements.
The panel of comic strips on display belong to the “Arnie and Porfi” comic series. Struggling with the duality of his identity as a Mexican- American, Hernandez often battled with his internal desire to adhere to conservative family-views and his newly found chicanismo. Hernandez expressed this conflict through satire and comedic relief through the Arnie and Porfi comics, visualizing the dystopian world. In other words, through art and humor Hernandez exposes the political oddities and disproportionate disparity experienced by Mexican- Americans.
Sergio Hernandez (1948-2021) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California in the South Central area known as the Florence/Firestone District. He received his Bachelor Degree in Chicano Studies from San Fernando Valley State College, which is now known as the California State University, Northridge.