In the history of the Mexicans, there are many adverse types of performance art and theatre whose influence has continued to be felt in the modern performance and art, amongst them being the Las Carpas. The term Carpa defines the tents and similar structures built for theatrical performance (Cody and Sprinchorn, 2007). Typically, Las Carpas are theatrical performances conducted in tent festivals, where the performers traveled from one location to another while performing. So in short, these were traveling performances performed by the Mexicans between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Importantly notable that these performances were done in different regions. The performers traveled in different Mexico regions to showcase their performances. Las Carpas were not only common in Mexico, but also in South Texas. This traditional art has influenced contemporary art in so many ways, and the contemporary world has incorporated a lot of art borrowed from Las Carpas art.
Whereas in some areas historical art has taken over the contemporary world, it is quite different in others, where both modernity and historical art has been blended in the contemporary world to come up with a common culture. The performance art is a specific area that has been totally influenced by historical art. The performance art and contemporary theatre have their foundation in traditional art. The Chicano theatre, for instance, is a theatre performance that has borrowed so much from the Las Carpas, a traditional Mexican form of entertainment. Let us dig deep into these various aspects of Las Carpas that contemporary art has incorporated.
The main purpose of most of the Chicano theatres was to embrace the peoples' culture of humorous performance and laughter, which include clowning, acrobatic shows, satire, and buffoonery as a significant practice of the Mexican cultural formation before the Europeans arrived. With the interruption of the European invasion, there was an introduction of different means of entertainments as cultural blending became the main focus. The Europeans style of entertainment is totally different from the Chicano. Some of their entertainment styles are El BOBO, whose character portrays a high sense of humor with silly responses towards his boss. Also, there was the Los Voladores, which was performed by a man wrapped tall sticks on their legs high up and walked around performing different moves to entertain the audience.
The significant areas in which the contemporary art and entertainment borrowed from the Las Carpas art and entertainment are plays, acrobatic shows, skits and many other types of arts. The modern performances and arts have engaged the aspects of Las Carpas activities in various ways. These aspects were either were performed either in one show all of them or separately in different shows. In Chicano theater, for example, they incorporate music, drama and plays in the performances, a culture that was so popular in the Las Carpas traditional art performances (Huerta, 2000). The Chicano theatre performers have preferred these forms of art performances and have continued incorporating them, to communicate and educate the society on different societal issues. These plays are usually made a way that desirable to the targeted audience. The Chicano Teatro, for instance, which was performed to the farmers in Mexico to make them aware of the sociopolitical positions in the society, hence influencing the establishment of social movements, which were key aids for the fight for farm workers' rights.
The stylistic devices that contemporary performance and art is another aspect adopted from Las Carpas. These include satire and humor that have been incorporated in the entertainment, which was used by the Las Carpas art. The performers, however, not only targeted to entertain the audience but mainly to target some particular issues that would be addressed in such ways. This was the best-unrestricted ways that the Las Carpas used to pass awareness on some issues especially to the illiterate when the Mexicans were facing so much political struggle in its revolution (Cody and Sprinchorn, 2007). These stylistic devices have been used in the Chicano Theatre. Between 1960 and 1970 when Mexican farmers faced so many challenges in establishing their rights, the Chicano Theatre performers deployed political humor and satire to educate these workers the importance of having social movements. This aspect of stylistic devices has been used as a tool to enlighten the illiterate people in the society, without having to go to an academic institution or wasting so many resources educating them formally (Natalie, 2014). This aspect therefore still has its sparks on burning bright.
Another aspect is the theaters' idea. This was copied from the Las Carpas, where gatherings met to get entertained be their art influencers. The Las Carpas used tents, but in contemporary entertainment, theaters are used. In respect to this, we can argue that the theater halls in the modern world have a very close relationship with the traditional theaters, where people assembled up to get entertained. However, in the contemporary types of art, there are no tents in their shows, the feature of the performers performing then getting to the backstage originates from the notion of making use of tents as backstages. According to Cody and Sprinchorn (2007), even the Protestants used to perform in tents to enlighten people of their faith, just the same way contemporary theaters are created in a way that they have backstage for performers to rest before and after the performance. Moreover, some of the stage directions are usually given from backstage.
Rasquache is an English word derived from rascuache, a Spanish word that initially had a negative implication of being defiance that was lower class or the poor in Mexico, which was later reviewed and reverted by the Chicago and Mexican arts society, from an insensible to an appealing artistic. Rasquache art seeks to utilize the most simple, quick, basic and crude ways necessary to come up with the desired impression, literally creating a lot from the least. Rasquachismo is suited to incapacitating the professional and material criticism encountered by the artists in the society it combines innovativeness with an overcomer attitude.
According to Ybarra-Frausto (2003), a Chicano art specialist, Rasquachismo should be viewed as a sensibility and an attitude first, then as a custom for official art potentials. Rasquachismo has been related to the poor's living style and of a low class. The positive views, however of Rasquachismo towards the living style of the poor is that it shows their creativity and innovativeness towards art, religious objects and images, a language for communicating, decoration and adornments and an entertainment tools.
The statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, in the altar of Texas, is a religious iconic symbol of the image of the Virgin Mary among the Catholics that have been encased in an old bathtub, standing on its end. It has been reinforced by rocks and decoration by disposed personal items. This is a display of religious images, that has been made using available materials and it is an example of Rasquachismo. This implies that Rasquachismo art utilizes the least objects that are considered of no importance, to come up with quality materials, objects and images of desired nature and use. The end result is not a resemblance of the materials used, but a design that is very appealing to the eyes. The traditional and cultural motivations the artists employ are usually in the backup of these Rasquachismo arts. Rasquachismo is, therefore, a simple transformation of Rasquache, which is simply creating the most from the least available materials, and it covers the challenges that artists face all through the transformation process.
Rasquachismo is, therefore, a style that Chicanos used to acquire professional and materials skills that they could use to overcome the challenges they faced, of been not recognized. The blood flaming sacred heart as won by the Mexican wrestler, El Santo was drawn by use of the Rasquachismo, this symbolized the heart of Jesus religiously, which is wounded and circled by a thorny crown, and a flame, which in Catholicism is their hope and shows they are conquered by the cross and they have humanity, symbolized by the flame.
Franco says that it is a symbol assumed for massive production and profitable consumption. Rasquachismo is found in fine art, as Franco says that it is actually a replication of using the similar attitude and recycling of materials to come up with new art, used specifically in a modern art setting. Franco explains Rasquachismo, as doing something to be creative and personalize. Rasquachismo is actually a silent language, speaking a million words and expressions. It is the common language for unity, resilience, and determination for the Chicanos. It is a cry for both religions, cultural and art recognition.
Some scholars view Rasquachismo as lacking the sophistication that is ignorant, misplaced and has a misrepresentation of symbols and icons viewed irreverent and crude. It is seen negatively as vulgar, tasteless, trashy and insensitive. Heath (1993), during her review of Rasquachismo exhibition at the Denver's Chicano Humanities and Art Council Gallery, criticized the Rasquache art as belonging to the people, nothing but the Chicago aesthetics and the emotions of the barrio, that interacts the Mexicans and Anglo-American daily experiences. Moreover, Rasquache is actually left-overs and valueless, in accordance with the Spanish and it's a description of the attitude, lifestyle, and taste of the loser among the Chicago.
More critic's say that Rasquachismo is involvement of irrelevant and unwarranted effort to make the most from the least and that the images made are throw-outs, trashes and daily recycled and reused materials that have no life, relating Rasquachismo to lifeless poverty lifestyles for the poor. They relate this to 'ghettoish' behavior, where string bits and old cans are used to hold lives in a stunning expression of artistic audacity.
Moreover, the use of broken pieces of plastics, containers. used pipes, and old tires as recycled. The materials are literally broken and unwanted and have no good use. This description is awful and the materials cannot be made to produce anything stunning and of good use. The material combination is done with a sturdy and complicated look, in the domestic decors, shrines and streets decorations. As this is a combination of resilient and resistant attitudes to assist the Chicago preserve and survive poverty, with good status from the society and fellow artists. This is therefore only used by the poor, who are seeking the attention and good reputation from other people and cannot afford anything made from descent and expensive materials.
Rasquache is viewed as a low-class attitude that is very frugal and filthy. According to a Latino art collection professional, art scholars and criticizers always revisit on asking how Rasquachismo is a significant art category. He further explains how his grandmother criticized him when she heard him talk about his study on Rasquachismo. Her thoughts were that Rasquache is like being taken out for an ice cream date then once done with ordering, she says she is in short of money and ends up asking you to make the payments for her.
Mesa-Bains (2003), a scholar, a steward, and an artist, give the description of Rasquachismo as an underdog that does innovation with a survivalist attitude, and further describes it as making the most from the least by the use of wastes, and recycled discarded materials and fragments, to come up with an art that is innovative and defiant. She calls Rasquachismo Domesticana, when female artists employ it, although she say...
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