Welcome to the Dashboard, !

Close dashboard icon
LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Margaret Garcia’s ‘Arte Para la Gente’

California’s Museum of Ventura County is now hosting the first retrospective of the Chicana artist Margaret Garcias work. This exhibition — Arte Para La Gente, Art for the People — brings to the fore Garcia’s exceptionally bright color palette and coarse textured style of painting. Jimmy Centeno, in this review adopted from a piece published originally in Counterpunch, explores three of Garcia’s most stunning oils.

Margaret Garcia

In American Dream (2020) Margaret Garcia captures a silent moment on a bright day for a paletero — popsicle vendor — sitting on a park curbside. As street workers trying to eke out a living, paleteros and other street vendors such as eloteros — corn sellers — face challenges that range from discrimination to assaults. Garcia’s gaze offers dignity, empathy, and acknowledgment for those who toil day in out, but who get categorized at the low end of capitalist societies.

In Glorious Echo Park (2020) Garcia chooses an angle that avoids downtown Los Angeles. She snuffs out any reference to the center of power in the far distance. Instead, Garcia paints a promising horizon: warm and hopeful during difficult, uncertain times.

Shock and Awe (2005), a political protest painting, addresses the destruction of life by the U.S. government in the Iraq War. Her concern: the terror experienced by children, families, and the entire Iraqi people.

Garcia’s personal narrative and community work have been central to the history of Chicano art in LA. For four decades she has given voice to the people. Asked how she represents her Chicano community, Garcia responds simply: By painting my community!”


Sometimes,” she adds, “I feel like an envelope brown and unaddressed. This is an effort to fill that envelope and address it. It is a personal journey that takes place in my history, my family, my heritage, and my identity. It is a physical identity encompassed by a social identity. I look to become whole so that I may become part of the whole.”