Rasquachismo

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Rasquachismo can be defined to be a particular style that is suitable in dealing with the material availability, the technique and professional skill that acted as a limiting factor to artists in the Chicano movement. There is also a term that is related to rasquachismo; rasquache, which is Spanish in nature and was, and is used by the Chicanos. This term happened to have had a negative connotation in the country of Mexico as being an attitude or behavior that was of lower class than others, or rather was impecunious. The term rasquache was later made by the Chicano arts movement to have a positive connotation which later transformed the sensibility of those who had nothing into the rasquachismo style that finally dealt with the material and the skill that limited the Chicano artists from performing to the best in their movement.

The term rasquache art makes use of the most basic, simplest, swiftest and the crudest methodologies that are deemed necessary to come up with a desired expression. This means that the art makes use of the least things for instance those that are not considered to be of any importance, and it produces materials and expressions that are of total quality and are of the desired nature. The expressions that result have no comparison with the materials that were used in the designing of the expression. What also underlie rasquachismo art are the traditional and the cultural inspirations that the artists are able to develop actually from these varied cultures. In simple terms, we can say that rasquachismo is a form of transformation of the term rasquache that deals with the creation of the most from the least that is available. It therefore deals with the issues that underlie or rather the challenges that are to be encountered throughout the transformation by the artists.

As according to a certain writer and an artist, when dealing with rasquachismo, there is the employment or involvement of the irrelevant and the unprompted to make the most out of the least. The expressions that are made come from materials that are considered discards, fragments or even materials that have been recycled and reused in everyday life. For instance, there is the ability to hold life using bits of string or even old coffee cans in a dazzling expression of aesthetic audacity. This act or term of rasquachismo applies to all Chicano artists at all times and in different places. There are other terms that are used in connection with the term rasquache. Ghetto can be used to mean the same thing as rasquache. This can also mean the behavior or habit of making use of the already used plastic utensils and also what we call the zip top bags. Within the use of the rasquache, there is a philosophy of inventing new uses for objects that are conventional in nature. This can also mean that an object that is conventionally considered broken and of no good use is actually made use of. This therefore can be related to the recycling of the materials that have been used before. The materials that are used are recycled materials as tires, broken plates and cups, plastic containers as old and used pipes. These materials are recombined with a complicated and a sturdy expression in places called the yard shrines, domestic decoration and even beautification of the car. It actually refers to a combination of resistant and resilient attitudes that are involved to enable the Chicano to survive and preserve itself with a sense of good reputation among the people and other artists.

The term Chicano literally means rasqueche. This is from the vernacular connotations that are used by the people. This therefore means that the political stand of the Chicanos emerges from a sensibility of a working class that is called upon to take defiant stance. The Chicano artists have been raised in a Barros and have lived through a rasqueche consciousness. The sensibilities that are possessed by the Chicanos were mainly used to oppose and provoke the superior norms of the Anglo American, with its everyday cultural practices. Whether through the extensions and the interpretations of the home made settings, the delicate possession, and rasquachismo is a world view that provides an oppositional identity. It displayed and acknowledged the meaning of the cultural practices of the Chicano people. It was very essential to the sensibility of rasquachismo to posses a dual function of resistance and affirmation.

There are a number of works of art that illustrate the concept of rasquachismo. In the Chicano literature, there is a great focus on the themes of identity, discrimination of others in the society and their culture. The Chicanos were being discriminated by the countrymen since they were seen as aliens. They therefore came up with a literature that emphasized on validating the Mexican American and the Chicano culture in the United States of America. They wanted their culture to be recognized like that which was in existence in the United States. They were also fighting all kinds of discrimination and the negative connotations that had been laid against them, and were not responsible for them. “Yo Soy Joaquin” is one of the first examples of poetry of the Chicano people. There were also other aspects of literature as novels and other pieces of writings, some of which have been promoted to the classic levels in the United States.  Another aspect of the Chicanos art was the visual arts. There were various kinds of visual arts that had the same purpose as the literature. However, there were the Chicanos cultural practices that are indigenous to them, and have been rooted to the culture of the American continent. This helped in the unification of the Chicanos with the larger pan-Indian movement. There was thus the transformation of the Chicanos` poetry, music and literature. Finally, with the rise of the Chicano movement in the 1960s, there was a gradual transformation of the term Chicano from mockery, a class-based term, to that of ethnic pride and an overall usage within the Mexican American communities. There were naughty connotations that were associated with the term, and it was more likely to be used by males than females, and also more likely not to be used among those in a higher socioeconomic status. This denoted that there was an aspect of rasquachismo in the Chicano community.

In conclusion, rasquachismo refers to a style that was used by the Chicano artists to gain the material and the professional skills that they used to overcome the limitations that they were facing. The Chicano and the arts employed this aspect of rasquachismo in many of its kinds of artistry.

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