Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Made in Aztlan.
Edited by Philip Brookman and Gullermo Gomez-Pena. San Diego: Centre Cultural de la Raza, 1986. Illustrations. 116 Pages. $15.00 Paperbound.
Made in Aztlan is a major book for bringing to the attention of San Diego the city’s only major art center devoted to the culture of Native and Mexican Americans. In a community with a large non-Anglo population, but with little evidence of other cultures in the business, political and cultural power of the city, that message is an important one. The Centre Cultural de la Raza is the result of the tumultous 1960s. In those years Chicano students in local colleges and local artists worked together to bring self-realization to the local Mexican-American community. In time one received permission to use an abandoned watertank in Balboa Park as a studio; that evolved by 1971 into the Centro. The high points of the Centre’s history have been the mural painted on the outside of the building (which, with the Chicano Park freeway murals, has become a focal point for Chicano culture in San Diego), and the development of a continuing series of exhibits, performances, classes and workshops developing and disseminating Chicano culture. Made in Aztlan is an exceedingly handsome book which details the story both of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, but also of the larger story of Mexican-American culture in San Diego. Originally a catalog for the exhibit “Made in Aztlan,” it also includes reproductions of some of the artwork of that show, plus well selected photographs which illustrate the history of the Centro. Because of the paucity of printed material on the Mexican American community in San Diego, it could be argued that Made in Aztlan is the most important book extant on the San Diego Chicano community.