Chicana Art Movement

Save Las Manitas And Escuelita

Liliana Wilson's "Save Las Manitas And Escuelita" depicts a well-known cultural district in Austin during the early 2000s. 

Latin Americans have used different mediums to fulfill the role of activist or educator. The Liliana Wilson Papers depict a collection of Wilson’s artistry through her career as a Chicana and Latina activist in Texas. This collection represents a more recent form of Latin American activism in the United States. Wilson illustrates her story as an immigrant and woman transcending borders and assimilating herself into a newfound society. Luis Urrieta, a researcher on cultural studies, claims that activists create an identity to educate others and further a social cause as a way of giving back to their community. Wilson’s work as a Chicana artist embodies this claim that activists or educators identify themselves in a role within a movement.

The title of activist, educator, or leader becomes an identity to which individuals can freely raise awareness for issues that apply to a specific kind of community that others can relate to. For example, Wilson’s artwork speaks on issues that relate to Chicana feminism, female oppression, and the immigrant experience. Her works are inspired by other figureheads such as Gloria Anzaldúa who wrote about social justice and women’s rights for Latinas. Individuals create identities for themselves, to help others relate to and identify with their experiences as a part of a bigger or ongoing movement.

The approach to identity formation in relation to a minority community is illustrated through research from scholars such as Monica Ybarra, who highlights how young Latina women are more likely to understand and perceive their experiences as a woman or a minority when they learn through the experiences or stories of other women of color. The significance of creating a narrative for Latina women is not only important for those who create it for themselves as a way of communicating, creating, or telling a story, but also for those who are most influenced by it to learn, grow, and relate to.