By Ernesto Saavedra
Arts and culture have always played a critical role in shifting the mind-set of the masses in a way that crosses all barriers. That visual aspect of the movement brings the people’s thoughts and struggles to life, sometimes more so than a speech or a rally.
As editor, one of the many things I hope to share with you is the intersection of arts and politics. This month’s issue is my first attempt at that with the art piece (on the cover) by artist Mauro Carrera of Angela Davis, the well-known activist and academic who stood up against the U.S. government and lived to tell about it.
Interestingly enough, she has a Fresno connection few people know about. While Davis was being charged with kidnapping and the murder of a judge in Marin County that happened in 1970, Rodger McAfee, a dairy farmer from the Fresno area, helped pay her $100,000 bail.
About the Artist
Mauro Carrera was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and migrated with his family to Fresno at the age of four, settling in Calwa near Jensen and freeway 99. His biggest inspiration was growing up in Calwa near a train yard where he watched trains decorated with colorful graffiti art pass by. At the age of 21, he started becoming politically active and incorporating more politics into his art.
“I am a firm believer in the arts, I believe that art programs that can relate to the youth in the barrios can help increase graduation rates and decrease incarceration rates,” Carrera says when asked about the impact of his art.
The Art: Angela Davis
When asked about his piece, Carrera said, “I do not regularly depict known personalities in my artwork; to the contrary, I like to depict common hard-working folks. In this case, I chose Davis because I believe her work is a great intersection between the struggle of many peoples and academia. Her work and her teachings have global perspectives yet she also has connections to Fresno. I was seeking to create an image that could connect a younger generation to a living entity with much knowledge and passion for justice.”
Carrera will be spending the summer in Philadelphia, New York City and Mexico City creating murals. Readers interested in supporting his art and his trip may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-470-8714.
Ernesto Saavedra is the current editor of the Community Alliance. Contact him at email@example.com.