Barbara Carrasco

Information about Barbara Carrasco

About Barbara Carrasco

Barbara Carrasco is an artist and muralist. She obtained her B.F.A. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1978 and her M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts in 1991.Since 1978, her works have been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe.
In 2018, her mural L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective is featured in the SIN CENSURA installation at Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Her mural sketches are in the Permanent Collection of Works on Paper, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. Her papers are archived at Stanford University Special Collections and her oral history is included in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. In 2002, Carrasco was appointed UC Regents Professor at UC Riverside and she is currently a board member of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
In 2008, Girl Scouts of America created a merit patch based on Carrasco’s image of Dolores Huerta.
Carrasco received the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Leadership in the Arts award. Her work is included in the "Radical Women" exhibition currently on view at Brooklyn Museum of Art and in the "¡Murales Rebeldes!" Exhibition at California Historical Society, San Francisco.


"Chicana Artists in a U.S. Context"
This talk addresses identity issues experienced by Chicana artists living in the United States. Chicana is indeed a politicized term that denotes American citizens of Mexican descent. My experience as a Chicana art student in the seventies saw me fighting against the sexism that permeated movements like the Chicano Civil Rights Movement and the United Farm Works Union; I worked for the UFW union as an artist while being enrolled at UCLA.

During this period, I created “Pregnant Woman in a Ball of Yarn” (1978), a work widely discussed and recently included in the exhibition “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985”. The image depicts a pregnant woman tied in a ball of yarn; this iconography was inspired by my younger brother’s attempt to stop his wife from attending college while she was pregnant. It is a commentary upon our patriarchal hierarchies of values.

I was one of the eight exhibiting artists from the U.S. to be included in “Radical Women”. It became apparent to me that art by many of the women from Latin America was far more didactically political than the works produced by Chicanas, as these women were greatly influenced by the politically oppressive governments in which they lived. Nonetheless, my fellow artists continue to create works of art that affirm our identity as Chicanas; we criticize the harsh political climate, dominant culture and institutions that marginalize our practice, preventing us from having an impact on mainstream art.