"Zoot Suit" (the film), 1981, El Teatro Campesino Archives.  
Leo Limon: Portrait of an Artist
Media Projects

trailer | To view the complete film click the arrow in the above image.

Chicano visual art is a field of significant growing interest within the UC system and among the general public. Teaching, research and exhibitions and publications related to Chicana/o visual art have all expanded considerably this past decade. Despite all this, there are many subjects, such as is the case with Leo Limon, that have remained seriously undocumented simply because materials do not exist in sufficient quantities to support new scholarship, analysis and interpretation.

The video documentary Leo Limon: Portrait of an Artist was created to address this paucity. It is about one of the most popular and visible artists in the Chicano art movement. The video captures various phases of the artist’s life in the context of the broader history of important cultural centers such as Self-Help Graphics & Art and the Mechicano Art Center, and his proactive and collaborative approaches to alleviate gang violence and other social problems confronting at-risk urban youth and residents in high-violence neighborhoods. In addition, the video explores his important work in the preservation and restoration of the Los Angeles River as an ecological and recreational zone for the Los Angeles community. It illustrates the cultural and economic benefits of innovative parklands preservation through initiatives like the L.A. River arts program.

Leo Limon: Portrait of an Artist yields important new biographical information and documentation that will support new scholarship not only in Chicana/o aesthetic and cultural studies but also in the interdisciplinarity and hybridity of the visual arts and the social sciences. Leo Limon’s successful, innovative cultural arts-based strategies and methods address a range of social issues. This process is defined as aesthetic activism that uses art for social transformation and social justice. Limon’s remarkable work on the L.A. River will be of interest to students in environmental studies, urban studies and to sociology students studying the role of voluntarism and societal partnerships for gang violence intervention.

Dando Gracias by Leo Limon
Dando Gracias by Leo Limon
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Comments and Questions
"City of Lights" painting by Rafael Lopez UC Santa Barbara Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies Chicano Studies Institute CEMA University Art Museum "Zoot Suit" (the film), 1981, El Teatro Campesino Archives.