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Current Exhibition

S24 presents African Indigenous Swag

by Azteca Negra, Tres Mercedes, and Soldadera

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - Saturday, May 30, 2015

For the 2015 launch of Studio 24 Presents, Galería de la Raza welcomes local Bay Area artists working with textiles: Azteca Negra, Soldadera and Tres Mercedes. These three artists work with fabrics and patterns that reference their Afro-Indigenous histories and bring them into contemporary urban objects and merchandize. The hand made objects recall histories of liberation, honor, pride, boldness, resistance, revolution and spiritual meanings. The showcased items are firmly rooted in identity and merge culture, modern art, geometric principles and traditional textiles that are incorporated in shoes, hats, earrings, and scarves, amongst many other items that celebrate and share traditional and modern art-form practices, beliefs, and positive messages.



Azteca Negra

Marisol is a San Francisco Bay Area native of Chicano and Black heritage, born in 1988. She is a self-taught artist and creator of Azteca Negra, a culturally inspired line of textile jewelry and accessories. Marisol comes from a long line of multifaceted women artisans, and uses her firmly rooted ethnic identity to design pieces that merge culture, modern art, geometric principles and traditional textiles. Many Azteca Negra pieces are created using fabric from Mexico and various African countries, as well as upcycled leather and natural beads. All of Marisol’s pieces are original designs and handcrafted. In many cultures across the world, the use of traditional textiles is present in the respective indigenous economies, fashion, art, and spiritual belief systems. It is Marisol’s ambition to celebrate and share indigenous art-°©‐form practices, beliefs, and positive messages through her artistic designs. Marisol lives and works in Hayward, CA.

Tres Mercedes

I am Daughter of the Diaspora. African born in America. Cuban born in California. I am Afro-Latina American. Raised in Oakland, California my soul found a physical place to call Home. Growing-up I listened to my elders tell stories of Black Panthers and I heard my elders tell stories of the Cuban Revolution. How can I contribute this beautiful struggle? My Weapon of choice is Art. I studied at YouTube University, traveled, meditated and finally got my degree in Ethnic Studies at Mills College. After submitting my thesis I never wanted to sit in front of a computer. I wanted to use my hands to spread knowledge and culture for The People. Some classmates laughed saying you went to college just to make earrings. They don't really know me. I'm a creator, educator, activist, inspiration, self- esteem booster, cultural fashionista, and businesswoman. I specifically like to use African fabric. I wanted to integrate African traditions into everyday urban American lifestyle. The vivid colors and unique patterns captivated me. I want to put it on everything hats, shoes, journals, bags, and more. African traditions and hip hop culture are both about sampling from the past and remixing it and that's what I achieve with my art business, Tres Mercedes. My soundtrack: live concert of Fela Kuti and Celia Cruz.


In her desire to create personal and heartfelt gifts for close friends, Julisa Garcia, creator behind Soldadera, began making earrings using African and Mexican textiles.The prints, colors, textures, and overall boldness of the textiles are elements that draw her towards them. Each piece is made with a certain mindfulness that honors and celebrates the cultures in which Julisa identifies. The San Jose native is a Xicana, Puerto Rican who proudly claims, celebrates, explores, and defends her indigenous and Afro-­‐Latino roots. The hoops, bamboo and door knocker shaped earrings are a nod to hip hop, a culture born out of resistance. The vibrant colors, the large size of the earrings, the overall unapologetic boldness of the accessories created coincide with Julisa’s radical, left-­‐leaning politics which she weaves into Soldadera. The name Soldadera refers to the Mexican freedom fighting women who fought for liberation on the front lines and also from behind the scenes by providing nourishment and support to sustain soldiers in the fight for freedom. The love and commitment to liberation, the honor, pride, boldness, and resistance of revolutionary women and men influences the overall aesthetic of Soldadera. Each piece is thoughtfully made to celebrate and uphold the cultures represented.


IN REFERENCE TO: Mexican Women of San Francisco

Digital Mural by Alejandra Regalado

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - Sunday, May 31, 2015

In honor of the work resulting from Alejandra Regalado’s 2014 Artist-In-Residency Project, In Reference To, Galería de la Raza presents the latest digital mural, which features photos from her work in San Francisco. The series of photos taken during Regalado’s time in in the city represents one part of a six-part series, from six different cities, culminating in the portraits of 500 Mexican immigrant women as well as an accompanying 500 images of singular objects selected by each woman as a reminder of her life left behind in Mexico. In Reference To explores the experience of Mexican female immigrants across America and investigates issues of cultural identity and femininity.


The Q-Sides

Contemporary Photography

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - Sunday, July 5, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 6-10pm

Featuring: DJ Daniela (Xica Soul) and Lowrider car show with rides featured in the exhibition

Galería de la Raza is pleased to present The Q-Sides, an exhibition of photographs and film that challenge long-held assumptions regarding the traditional exclusivity of heterosexuality in lowrider culture. Artists Vero Majano, DJ Brown Amy (Amy Martinez), and Kari Orvik reinterpret the album covers of East Side Story, Volumes 1-12 through a re-staging and re-imagining of queer inclusion within the traditionally heterosexual public image of lowrider culture. 

The now out-of-print East Side Story anthologies feature doo-wop and soul oldies often released as the B-Sides of popular hit records. From the 1970’s to present day, the compilations have been embraced by lowrider culture, and for those who love the records, the albums have served as a soundtrack to love, heartbreak, and desire. The original East Side Story album cover photos depict a proud homeboy with his lowrider, at times shown standing with his lady in her Black Orchid lipstick, and other times posing in the company of his homies.  

Collaborating with Bay Area car clubs and the local Latin@ queer community, the artists have thoughtfully reconsidered each cover to reflect a contextual re-imagination of the culture that has often firmly rejected it. In doing so, The Q-Sides photo series has developed a new narrative to complement the ubiquitous East Side Story albums. The Q-Sides are presented as the conceptual flip-side of the B-Sides, where queer homies are shown as proud of their rides, their ladies, and of the company of their jot@ homies.

Filmmaker and performer Vero Majano grew up on the periphery of lowrider culture in San Francisco’s Mission District. Through her use of archival film footage in video production and storytelling, Majano has ensured that Mission District lowrider culture is cemented as part of San Francisco history. Amy Martinez, from Long Beach, California, grew up listening to the East Side Story albums and is now a DJ and avid record collector. DJ Brown Amy co-founded the popular queer soul party Hard French, which centers on new experiences in dancing to oldies. Many members of this Hard French community appear as models in the photographs taken by San Francisco photographer Kari Orvik, who uses the original images as a basis to choreograph these scenes into new visual narratives. 

Complementing The Q-Sides photographic series, the documentary film Homeboy by artist and filmmaker Dino Dinco examines the cultural experience of queer Latino gang life through interviews from a varied generation of former LA gang members.

The Q-sides is a grantee of Galería's ReGen Fund—a technical assistance, capacity building, and small grants program serving Latino, Indigenous and Native American Artists. In addition they received support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures’ Fund for the Arts Grant Program, and San Francisco’s Queer Cultural Center.


Galería de la Raza: an Interdisciplinary Chicano/Latino Space for Art, Thought and Activism
2857 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 click here for directions to galería