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Davis, California

Thursday, May 30, 2024

America through the eyes of a Chicano artist

Vivid colors and emotional scenes tell a story of both hope and heartbreak in “My America,” a solo exhibition by UC Davis professor Carlos Francisco Jackson at Woodland’s Gallery 625. About 20 of Jackson’s silk screens will be on display until Sept. 28.

Carlos Francisco Jackson is an alumnus of UC Davis who received a bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Development and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting. Jackson is a recipient of the Robert Arneson Award for excellence in the MFA program. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Chicano Studies Program and the director of Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA) a community art center in Woodland.

Through his work with TANA, which translates to “Art Workshop of the New Dawn,” Jackson has created a strong following of both Woodland residents as well as former students, many of which have had opportunities to work in this fully functioning silk screening studio, or have been exhibited in the gallery and exhibition space.

“Carlos is a good artist and a fantastic silk screener,” said Malaquis Montoya, professor in the Chicano Studies Program. “He does a lot of photo documentary and historic photos of events. His silk screens are very large and very colorful and are reproductions of those photos. ”

The exhibition is largely made up of Jackson’s own interpretation of events that have shaped the cultural consciousness of America, with a definite Chicano perspective. His work depicts significant events and people such as Robert F. Kennedy and César Chavez meeting in Delano, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as well as the Braceros departing Mexico City for California.

“I think well of Carlos, ” said Kevin Johnson, a colleague of Jackson and professor in the Chicano Studies department, in an e-mail interview. “[His art] is tied to the activism, the community and social justice – much like the work of his mentor Professor Malaquis Montoya.”

The gallery is curated by Yolo Arts, a non-profit organization founded in 1981 to further the arts and culture of the county. The gallery hosts rotating shows monthly and features Yolo County artists. Its mission is to cultivate and advocate support for all arts, to participate in advancement of arts education in schools and the community, as well as to foster communication among artists, businesses, education, government and the residents of Yolo County.

Casey Schell, special projects assistant at Yolo Arts, said she expects a big turnout for Jackson’s exhibition.

“He is pretty well known not only through Davis but also through his work with TANA. He both lives and works here, and we’re hoping some of his students will come in.”

Montoya said he has confidence that Jackson will continue to have great success, both in his art and his work with TANA.

“He’s a great worker and I was glad when he was hired at Chicano studies and became a coworker of mine,” Montoya said. “He is good for the department and the university and I am glad I was able to work with him. I think TANA is going to develop and turn into something very positive for the Woodland community and the University Outreach Program.”

Located in the Erwin Meier Administration Building, 625 Court St. in Woodland, Gallery 625 is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Most of Jackson’s work, along with his book “Chicana and Chicano Art: ProtestArte” will be available for purchase.

ANASTASIA ZHURAVLEVA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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