Amalia Mesa Bains

Amalia Mesa-Bains is an artist and cultural critic. Her works, primarily interpretations of traditional Chicano altars, resonate both in contemporary formal terms and in their ties to her Chicano community and history. As an author of scholarly articles and a nationally known lecturer on Chicano art, she has enhanced understanding of multi-culturalism and reflected major cultural and demographic shifts in the United States. Throughout her cross-disciplinary career, she has worked to define a Chicano and Latino aesthetic in the U.S. and in Latin America. She has pioneered the documentation and interpretation of long Chicano traditions in Mexican-American art, both through her cultural activism and through her own altar-installations.  Her works have been exhibited in both national and international venues. As educator and community advocate, she has served the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Board of Directors for both the Galeria de la Raza and the Center for the arts at Yerba Buena Gardens. She received her BA (1966) from San Jose State College, her MA (1971) from San Francisco State University, an M. A. (1981) and her Ph.D. (1983) in psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley. Among her many awards is the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship. She is Professor Emeritus California State University at Monterey Bay.

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