Political Posters and the United Farm Workers: Social, Political, Cultural Revolution in the U.S., and Mexico’s Artistic and Revolutionary Influence
- Judith Baca, Professor in Chicana/o Studies Department and World Arts and Culture Department, University of California Los Angeles
- Charlene Villasenor-Black, Associate Professor of Art History, University of California Los Angeles
This research analyzes mass-produced political posters made for the United Farm Workers (UFW) as a result of the 1965 Delano Grape Strike and subsequent strikes. The posters in support of the UFW produced by El Taller Grafico are a result of the Labor and Chicano Civil Rights Movements in the U.S., as well as a revival of ideas and images from the Mexican Revolution. Several UFW posters show a great influence from the prints produced by El Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century, especially in their inclusion of similar iconography and support for agrarian workers. This research finds that due to a large population of Chicano and Mexican migrant workers within the UFW, artists from UFW’s El Taller Grafico sought inspiration from past agrarian, revolutionary leaders from Mexico as a form of social, political, and cultural identification. The methodology includes a study of the history and demographics of the UFW, as well as a visual analysis of posters produced by El Taller Grafico in the 1960’s and 70’s for the UFW, and the Mexican El Taller de Gráfica Popular posters produced in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s in support of agrarian workers in Mexico. Specifically, this research takes a look at posters with images of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, analyzing their role as Mexican revolutionary and agrarian leaders. This research is significant in seeing how the poster became the artistic medium of choice within international revolutionary movements because it created a sense of identification to the cause. Furthermore, this research finds an inherited connection from the El Taller Grafico artists and Chicano revolutionaries, to their Mexican artistic and revolutionary ancestors. Lastly, this research encourages further investigation into revolutionary catalysts behind art movements worldwide.