Jesus Garza

Profile  |  Artworks  |  Comments
Cesar E, Chavez, 1970 Photography 8x8 Inches © Copyright 2008 Jesús Manuel Mena Garza. All rights reserved.
Quick Facts
San José, CA
Birth year
Lives in
Redlands, CA USA
Works in
Redlands, CA USA
San José State University, 1978, Journalism
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Representing galleries
Representation Needed
cesar, chavez, chicano, 1970, politics, ufw, farmworkers, San, Jose, California

At eight years of age, I remember shuffling through a drawer where I found 35mm film negatives my sister Dolores had hidden. I pulled them out and held them to the light. They looked like film strips used in elementary school projectors during the late 1950s and 60s. The celluloid miniatures held a certain mystery. How could you make a print from such a small negative? What made this amazing transformation possible?

From this raw beginning, I pursued and acquired the many skills necessary to be a professional photographer, advancing from taking snapshots to exhibiting and publishing. My role as critical observer empowered me, but ascension was problematic. It required coursework, taking countless pictures and discovery. Through the years, I learned how to previsualize, capture, store and distribute my art.

From the beginning, my images have as their source my migrant farm worker heritage and my immersion in the dynamic political and artistic culture of El Movimiento, the political movement that emerged during the mid-60s seeking social justice for Chicano/as. Through photography, I explored the dynamic Chicano culture of the 70s.

During this period, Chicanos struggled to enter the American mainstream while retaining their identity. Previously, Chicanos, Mexican-Americans or Hispanics were known as the silent minority. El Movimiento allowed me to become part of a new, loud and proud chorus. Though Chicano/as continue to be marginalized and often dismissed by the dominant culture, my role of articulating our experience goes on.