Dia de Los Muertos at Self Help Graphics: A Cultural Legacy, Past, Present, and Future

Start date: October 22, 2023
End date: October 22, 2024
All-day event
Location: Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University, San Bernadino
Melanie Cervantez Light the Way for the Ancestors 2019 Large

This exhibition centers around the commemorative prints, photographic documentation, and ephemera from the celebration of Día de Los Muertos at Self Help Graphics & Art. The Los Angeles based art center has observed Día de Los Muertos as a form of creative celebration, community building, and advocacy for five decades. Self Help Graphics & Art emerged as a response to the need for East Los Angeles artists to have an open cultural arts center that promoted Chicanx and Latinx art. The organization began in 1970 with founders Sister Karen Boccalero, Carlos Bueno, Antonio Ibanez, Frank Hernandez and other artists working out of Sister Karen’s garage.

The organization grew and relocated to Boyle Heights, where it developed educational programming alongside what would become an internationally recognized printmaking studio. In 1973 a Día de Los Muertos program at Self Help Graphics & Art was conceived of as a one-time celebration. This celebration accomplished some of Self Help Graphics & Art’s goals by educating East Los Angeles residents about a tradition within their own cultural heritage. The event introduced many to the creative process and helped build a stronger community rooted in the creative and spiritual practices of remembrance. The following year the community demand for this event was so great that the organization decided to continue holding it annually.

This exhibition was originally organized as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Latin America and Latino Art in LA a 2018 Getty initiative. We are indebted to the generosity of Self Help Graphics & Art for sharing this exhibition with us and to the curators of the 2018 exhibition Linda Vallejo and Betty Ann Brown, Ph.D.

Before You Now: Capturing the Self in Portraiture

Start date: April 6, 2024
End date: August 11, 2024
All-day event
Location: Riverside Art Museum 3425 Mission Inn Ave. Riverside, CA, 92501

Before You Now focuses on the enduring theme of the artist’s self-portrait, as seen in a selection of works from LACMA’s collections of photographs, prints, drawings, videos, and installation art. Primarily featuring contemporary makers, the exhibition is an introduction to seeing American artists as they see themselves—or as they want to be seen by their public. They are shown contemplating their physicality in realistic fashion, highlighting their persona through symbolic tropes, or utilizing humor or conceptual methods to enlighten, exa ggerate, or camouflage their reflective selves. Over 50 artists—including Laura Aguilar, Kwame Brathwaite, Kalli Arte Collective, Roger Shimomura, Cindy Sherman, Rodrigo Valenzuelaand June Wayne—display an ongoing fascination with, or return to, the self-portrait. Before You Now aims to broaden the topic to include many whose practice leans into an autobiographical narrative, and explores artists who are adding to and redefining our culture by expanding on ideas of identity.

Additional dates for exhibition:

California State University, Northridge: Aug 31–Dec 7, 2024

Lancaster Museum of Art and History: Jan 25–Apr 13, 2025

Vincent Price Art Museum: Jul 12–Sep 20, 2025


Lovers & Fighters: Prints by Latino Artists in the SAMA Collection

Start date: April 20, 2024
End date: July 14, 2025
All-day event
Location: San Antonio Museum of Art, Golden Gallery, 200 West Jones Avenue San Antonio, TX 78215 Tel: 210.978.8100

Lovers & Fighters: Prints by Latino Artists in the SAMA Collection highlights works featuring imagery and subjects related to concepts of love, power, and struggle.

Romantic couples, heart motifs, boxers, and wrestlers evoke “lovers” and “fighters” and serve as points of departure to explore these seemingly opposing concepts. However, the prints on view reframe and expand upon those subjects, offering nuanced interpretations of emotions that go beyond stereotypes of romance and violence.

The focus on printmaking also demonstrates the medium’s influence in Latino art history—from politically engaged works produced at the Taller de Gráfica Popular printmaking collective in 1940s Mexico City to Chicano activism in America during the ’60s and ’70s and today’s community-based studios, including Self Help Graphics in Los Angeles and Coronado Studio in Austin. The medium’s capacity to produce multiple prints enables accessibility to a broad audience while its ability to capture bold, graphic imagery provides a resounding platform for the artist’s voice.

More Beautiful, More Terrible Humans of Life Row

Start date: April 26, 2024
End date: June 6, 2024
All-day event
Location: Co-Prosperity, 3219 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL
American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.—James Baldwin  
Public Opening Reception: April 27, 2024, 7-9PM

More Beautiful, More Terrible: Humans of Life Row is a counter narrative, a sustained act of resistance, an exhibition that reveals the intimate experiences, transformative ideas, and beautiful dreams of people facing the stark realities of life and de facto life sentencing in Illinois. These sentences are commonly described as death by incarceration because they condemn people to confinement until their death. Nevertheless, as contributing artist, Reginald BoClair, states, “Though sentenced to die in prison, we are alive.”Through personal narratives, artistic expressions, compelling installations, and poetic verse, this exhibition shines a light on the people who inhabit ‘life row.’

The exhibition is part of a broader Humans of Life Row initiative that emerged from the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project (PNAP) Think Tank at Stateville Prison. The Think Tank is composed of scholars, writers, and artists who seek to transform the material and ideological conditions created by carceral logics through in-depth research, policy analysis and advocacy, alongside creative cultural projects. The Think Tank seeks to make key interventions and offer critical insights to the broader movement to end mass-incarceration from within one of the most brutal geographies of the prison-industrial-complex. As Devon Terrell, an inaugural Think Tank member, put it: “[we] walk into the future by visualizing it today.”

Registration Link:

The Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project is a visual arts and education project that connects teaching artists and scholars to incarcerated students at Stateville Prison through classes, workshops, guest lectures, and a think tank. For more information on PNAP visit Consider making a donation at the link here. Thank you.

Beyond Prisons, a project of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago, is a teaching and learning initiative that interrogates, disrupts, and works toward moving beyond carceral logics and systems. The project engages and connects students, faculty, and community in work addressing the social injustices caused by mass incarceration alongside opportunities to support education inside prisons. is an experimental cultural center located in Bridgeport, Chicago. Co-Pro hosts exhibitions, screenings, installations, gatherings, and performance programs.

Calli: The Art of Xicanx Peoples

Start date: June 14, 2024
End date: January 25, 2025
All-day event
Location: OMCA


On June 14, 2024, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) opens Calli: The Art of Xicanx Peoples, a major exhibition navigating the interwoven threads of intergenerational, feminist, queer, and Xicanx-Indigenous stories that offer visitors ancestral forms of liberation, healing, and being. Through photography, sculpture, painting, installation, poetry, and more, Calli layers multiple artistic perspectives in order to imagine new possibilities for the future.

This exhibition opens June 14, 2024. Though Calli will be open to the public starting Friday, June 14, 2024, the exhibition will be closed to the general public from 3 pm–5 pm for a private viewing for contributing artists and their guests. The exhibition will be reopened to the public for OMCA’s Friday late-night gallery access starting at 5 pm until 9 pm.

The exhibition derives its name from OMCA’s recently-acquired Calli Americas collection of late queer Xicana activist and professor, Margaret “Margie” Terrazas Santos. A selection of Santos’ historic posters from her collection will be on view alongside large scale installations and major contemporary artworks commissioned for this project, offering a comprehensive portrayal of Xicanx experiences.

In naming her collection, Santos highlighted two key concepts that serve as the foundation of this exhibition: “Calli,” derived from Nahuatl, signifies not just “home” or “house,” but the very essence of household, family, and lineage. “Americas” refers to Indigenous land, transcending colonial borders and divisions. As such, the exhibition is a temporary “Xicanx home” where the stories of Xicanx peoples across California are honored, preserved, and shared.

Calli: The Art of Xicanx Peoples showcases a diverse array of historical and contemporary artworks that center the voices and experiences of elder Xicanx-Indigenous artists, Queer Xicanx artists, and Feminist artists,” said Gilda Posada, exhibition curator and Mellon Foundation Fellow at OMCA.  “Through their art, these visionary artists expand the horizons of possibility, inspiring reflection and fostering dialogue about a world in which we can all belong.”

Visitors will begin their journey by entering the “calli,” a Xicana/o/x-Indigenous home in the form of a contemporary Mesoamerican stylized temple installation that leads into the first section of the exhibition, Xicana/o/x Indigenous Revitalization. This section focuses on the Indigenous Revitalization Movement that took place within the early part of the Chicana/o Movement, highlighting the many ways in which Xicana/o/x peoples renewed their Indigenous worldviews, languages, histories, practices and connection to earth. The second section, Self-Naming: Xicana/o/x, explores how the identity of “Chicano” has shifted over the generations in the context of historic moments and movements in time. Visitors will be invited to engage in topics like challenging gender norms, queer kinship, and AIDS activism.

Next, Spirituality/Materiality, focuses on how Xicana/o/x artists have reconnected to their Indigenous spirituality and materialities through artmaking. Artworks invite visitors to witness, feel, and participate in traditional Indigenous forms of healing that reconnect body, mind, and spirit in a holistic way. Creation Stories, the final section of the exhibition, shows how Xicana/o/x artists use Mesoamerican creation stories in their works to speak to their responsibility to place, to fellow humans, and to other beings in this world.

Exhibition highlights and featured artists include:

  • An adobe Mesoamerican stylized temple installation by rafa esparza
  • Consuelo Jimenez Underwood will create a site-specific Borderline installation conveying issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border such as land commodification, militarization, dehumanization, and its ecological effects
  • A selection of posters from the Calli Americas collection focused on Third World Liberation and Solidarity Movements, Xicana Feminisms, Queer Xicanx activism, along with other social justice movements
  • Photographs from Laura Aguilar’s Clothed/Unclothed series that was recently acquired by OMCA
  • A ceramic and earth-based installation by Gina Aparicio with audio composed by musician Joe Galarza, a member of Aztlan Underground
  • An installation by Viviana Paredes using molcajetes (mortars and pestles) to highlight Indigenous matriarchal knowledge, sacred foods, and medicine.
  • An OMCA-produced video of Felicia ‘Fe’ Montes activating her Botanica del Barrio, (mobile store selling medicinal herbs and remedies), out into the community in East Los Angeles. An interactive that Felicia Montes has created will invite visitors to share remedies passed down to them by their families.
  • A soft sculpture installation of the Aztec moon goddess, Coyolxauhqui, by artist Melanie Cervantes
  • Postcard takeaways featuring Calli Americas poster images with text written by Xicanx scholars that elaborates on the different sections of the exhibition


Start date: June 28, 2024
End date: September 29, 2024
All-day event
Location: Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

Yreina D. Cervántez. Mujer de Mucha Enagua, PA’ TI XICANA, 1999. Screenprint on paper; 17 7/8 x 26 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Samuel and Blanche Koffler Acquisition Fund, 2020.40.1. © 1999, Yreina D. Cervántez

In the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today. Many artists came of age during the civil rights, labor, anti-war, feminist and LGBTQ+ movements and channeled the period’s social activism into assertive aesthetic statements that announced a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States. ¡Printing the Revolution! explores the rise of Chicano graphics within these early social movements and the ways in which Chicanx artists since then have advanced innovative printmaking practices attuned to social justice.

More than reflecting the need for social change, the works in this exhibition project and revise notions of Chicanx identity, spur political activism and school viewers in new understandings of U.S. and international history. By employing diverse visual and artistic modes from satire, to portraiture, appropriation, conceptualism, and politicized pop, the artists in this exhibition build an enduring and inventive graphic tradition that has yet to be fully integrated into the history of U.S. printmaking.

This exhibition is the first to unite historic civil rights era prints alongside works by contemporary printmakers, including several that embrace expanded graphics that exist beyond the paper substrate. While the dominant mode of printmaking among Chicanx artists remains screen-printing, this exhibition features works in a wide range of techniques and presentation strategies, from installation art, to public interventions, augmented reality and shareable graphics that circulate in the digital realm. The exhibition also is the first to consider how Chicanx mentors, print centers and networks nurtured other artists, including several who drew inspiration from the example of Chicanx printmaking