By Dr. Ricardo Romo
Jesus Barraza is a San Francisco Bay area artist, teacher, and community activist. He is the co-founder, with Melanie Cervantes, of Dignidad Rebelde, a community arts organization that produces art prints and teaches young people the art of printmaking.
Over the past ten years, Barraza has worked with Cervantes to create political posters and multimedia videos. Early in his career Barraza was inspired by the works of famed Mexican graphic artist, Jose Gaudalupe Posada, and today creates art in the spirit of California artist Juan R. Fuentes, whose artwork has been a pivotal part of social movements.
Barraza has taught Ethnic Studies and Art and Social Movements classes at California State University at Hayward and at San Francisco State University. He is currently a Lecturer in the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley.
Barraza describes his art as “grounded in Third World and indigenous movements that build peoples’ power to transform the conditions of fragmentation, displacement and loss of culture that results from this history.” Barraza works closely with numerous community organizations in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area to create prints that visualize, in his views, the struggles for immigration rights, housing, education, and international solidarity.
Over the past twenty years Barraza has also assisted dozens of community organizations committed to social and environmental justice by designing and printing posters and prints about their cause. His silk screen art of Chicano/a cultural and political leaders have been acquired by museums, galleries, and private collectors across America.
His recent La Prensa Texas cover image of Dolores Huerta was donated to the University of Texas Benson Latin American Collection by Drs. Harriett and Ricardo Romo. The Romo collection at the Benson is one of the largest Chicano and Latino print collections in America, with over 700 prints.