Chicano Park Day Posters: A Personal Reflection

Chicano Park at 50



III. The Many Messages

The posters are effective ways to acknowledge injustices and promote social awareness. For example, in 1996 we were fighting against prop 187 and police brutality, which still to this day we battle against, and we were also fighting to save our murals after the threats of having the pillars retrofitted because of the earthquake that happened in Northridge in ‘94. There is a wide variety of colorful poster designs that form a very serious and powerful message that include images of revolutionary heroes such as Zapata and Guerrilla fighters like Subcomandante Marcos and Aztec warriors like Cuauhtémoc. You will find more subtle, fluent or straight forward designs like Ruben De Anda’s posters of mid to late 80’s with beautiful images of a child on a swing or honoring the brave traditions of Los Indios Voladores; a tradition coming from Papantla, Mexico. You will also find a very playful side of the artists in some posters like the one from 2012 created by Victor Cordero where you see Emiliano Zapata driving a lowrider with some Danzantes at Chicano Park, or in 1990 when we celebrated 20 years and the poster was a mashup of the 20th Century Fox logo and Chicano Park imagery created by Mario Torero.

The first couple of posters created in the early 70’s were for a more practical use, simply to alert the people of the coming of this celebration, but as the years passed by, the poster evolved as well; it became an opportunity for many artists to get to work on what they believed should be represented that year. Every poster has its own magical essence to it, but one that stands out to me is an early poster created by artist Victor Ochoa in 1976. It is an image of the pillars with the bridge above, the central pillar morphed into a raised fist in solidarity with our brothers the Black Panthers. On the base of the pillars you can see the eagle and the serpent from the Mexican flag, along with other symbols of our culture, and in the sky you see a single dove soaring above.



1976 Chicano Park Anniversary Poster Victor Ochoa, Chicano Park Day Anniversary Poster, 1976, multi-color silkscreen
1990 Chicano Park Poster Mario Torero, 20th Anniversary Chicano Park Day, 1990, offset lithograph