Laredo Center for the Arts Presents

Cesar Martinez

Coming this October

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Artist Statement 

"During the early 1970s when I began activities as an artist, I was very much involved in the Chicano political movement. My closest friends were Chicano activists and we shared ideas about our politics and culture. Culturally, there was very little information about us. It was important to know who we were....no Chicano Studies at universities, or anything like that, existed at that time. We unwittingly started to invent that for ourselves out of need. We figured correctly that it would all, one day, be formalized.

It was all about defining ourselves for ourselves, self-determination in every sense, culturally, politically and whatever else. As an artist, a cultural exploration at all levels became my mission. To this day, I continue to do that. I work in many different modes of expression to do justice to the diverse themes I pursue. I’ve never confined myself by matters of style, with style being a superficial conceit. I like to think that I have contributed to both art and culture in general and specifically in defining Chicanos as a unique contemporary culture.

I was born and raised in Laredo, Texas of immigrant parents from Northern Mexico, and I had the unique experience of spending time at my family ranch, Los Garzas, in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Things I took for granted at the time are now gone forever, but they are etched in my memory and are another dimension of insight I have been privy to."

About the Artist

Originally from Laredo, Texas, César Martínez studied art at Texas A&I University in Kingsville and got his Bachelor of Science degree in All-Level Art Education in 1968. He was drafted into the US Army in 1969 and after serving in Korea, he was honorably discharged in 1971. Since then, he has lived and worked as a professional artist in San Antonio. His interest and involvement in the Chicano political movement since the early 1970s led his work in the Chicano and Mexican-American cultural explorations and themes for which he is now well known. He has exhibited widely at the national and international level, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Brooklyn Museum in New York, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston Texas, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in México City.

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