The Revival of Queer Chicano Art

An Attempt To Change Everything!

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Installation view of Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. at the Bertha and Karl

In the 1970s, queer artists from the Mexican-American LGBTQ community were engaging efforts to overthrow societies paradigms centered towards their marginalized community and to build a tenacious culture identity. Protest art took over most of the work and the world came to know about genius minds like Edmundo Mundo Meza.

However, their efforts were lost in the cultural epidemic and social bandwagon while much of their work was undiscovered until recently. There has been a vast collection of artwork from the era of the Chicano art movement which until recent times was lost somewhere in history. Our society today has grown much tolerant towards the LGBTQ community and racial condemnation is much reduced. Plus, in an attempt to showcase the lost work of these queer artists and create awareness about the subject that remained the central idea of their work, recently an exhibition was held which was called “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano LA”, organized by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.

The exhibition consisted of two galleries which laid huge emphasis on queer Chicano art in LA we all had a remote understanding about. The work was made publically accessible in order to grow the importance of its aesthetics and social standing back in those times.

Although the community was hit by the AIDS epidemic during that time, in fact, Mundo Meza even succumbed to his health complications developed by AIDS in 1985. He was only 29 years old!

The exhibition Axis Mundo was largely inspired by the benchmark of queer art laid by Mundo Meza, as he was the central figure in all of this. For decades, he remained one of the many artists whose work of art never came to the surface and remained digressed of the popularity and credibility it deserves. Axis Mundo was an attempt to change everything.

The form of art brought to public display inspired today’s generations as they sought to discover the innate genius of those artists and to what extent they managed to scale efforts in expressing their sacred ideals through their talents. The major artwork consisted of an array of black and white images evoking a unique creative impulse. It featured men and women in different settings which largely communicated about their ideals. Whatever way may have been used to express themselves, all kind of work actually addressed the core of queer Chicago art: activism, identity, AIDS, etc. In fact, during the exhibition, “Merman With Mandolin” by Mundo Meza (1984) became the center of attention. Everyone was talking about it!

The name Axis Mundo was also inspired by the artist’s nickname “Mundo”, which actually means “world”. Since he was notably known to be leading at the front of the message delivered by the Chicano art movement, the exhibition largely featured his works.

It remained successful in flipping the subject of queer Chicano artist’s efforts and work during their times, which actually remains a primary token of historical importance in American culture of art.

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