¡VIVA LA HUELGA!
GRAPHIC HERITAGE AND LEGACIES
OF THE UNITED FARM WORKERS
Art is central to every successful movement for social change, and the United Farm Workers exemplifies this. Since its founding in the 1960s, the UFW expressed every aspect of their movement in music, theater, poetry, and art. A constantly changing and innovative array of posters, banners and buttons accompanied every march and rally. Posters depicting the reasons for and targets of the grape and lettuce boycotts were plastered on walls and carried as placards. The United Farm Workers drew upon the rich tradition of the U.S. and Mexican labor movements for both their tactics and their art. And in both areas they made their own indelible additions.
The UFW was especially effective in using posters to inspire a new generation of activists and artists. The spontaneity and passion of the artists and the movement resulted in the exciting variety of styles and techniques displayed here. The UFW produced most of these posters, many at its offset printshop in La Paz, California. Yet there appears to be no centralized control over the poster production. Many pieces are from art collectives, such as La Raza Silkscreen Center, San Francisco and the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF), Sacramento. These groups are committed to linking their art with the social and political issues confronting their community. Whether the pieces are signed or anonymous, by individuals or groups, all identified with and supported the farm workers cause.
As the UFW built upon the past and created legacies for the future, the exhibition begins with posters of political leaders and labor movements from Mexico and the United States whose struggle for justice provided the historical foundation for the UFW. In addition to promoting the strike and the boycotts, UFW posters cover a broad range of topics, including racism, child labor, immigrant rights and pollution. These problems still exist, and poster art continues to play an important and unique role in confronting them. ¡Viva la Huelga! documents the importance of the poster tradition in both the farm workers movement, and in the ongoing struggle for social and economic justice. Politics are inseparable from this art, and this art is inseparable from the politics.
Note: Images appear in the order intended for exhibition display. Please contact us for more information on bringing an exhibition to your institution.