Art •  Southwest and Chicana and Chicano

$50.00 hardcover

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Give Me Life: Iconography and Identity in East LA Murals

Holly Barnet-Sanchez
Tim Drescher

Chicanismo, the idea of what it means to be Chicano, was born in the 1970s, when grassroots activists, academics, and artists joined forces in the civil rights movimiento that spread new ideas about Mexican American history and identity. The community murals those artists painted in the barrios of East Los Angeles were a powerful part of that cultural vitality, and these artworks have been an important feature of LA culture ever since. This book offers detailed analyses of individual East LA murals, sets them in social context, and explains how they were produced. Leading experts on mural art, the authors use a distinctive methodology, analyzing the art from aesthetic, political, and cultural perspectives to show how murals and graffiti reflected and influenced the Chicano civil rights movement.

This publication is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Furthermore, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.


Holly Barnet-Sanchez is an associate professor emerita of art history at the University of New Mexico. She is the coeditor of Signs from the Heart: California Chicano Murals, also available from UNM Press, and a contributor to Mexican Muralism: A Critical History.

Tim Drescher is an independent scholar in Berkeley, California. He is the coauthor of Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters and a contributor to Toward a People’s Art: The Contemporary Mural Movement (UNM Press).


“With Give Me Life: Iconography and Identity in East LA Murals, future generations will come to understand the immense cultural importance hidden under faded façades and vandalized walls, the role of history, gangs, materials, graffiti, inspiration.”


La Bloga

10 x 8 in. 440 pages 191 color photos, 7 halftones, 11 maps