recently updated the site and has two new prints out.
website - http://www.hechoconganas.com/
store - http://hechoconganas.bigcartel.com/
Ernesto Yerena Montejano was born in El Centro, CA, a mid- sized farming town bordering Mexicali, BC, MX. Fueled by his cross-national upbringing, his art practice reflects his observations of the views and interactions between the Mexican communities living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The artist shares narratives of his conflicts of identity that he feels are kindred to what many Chicanos of these communities experience. Although Yerena identifies as Chicano he also strongly identifies as Native/Indigenous to this continent which is often seen in his work. His work depicts his frustrations with the oppression in his community as well as creating work in solidarity with the community in the defense of dignity and rights. Through his brazen imagery, the artist brings political concerns to light with subject matter that depicts cultural icons, rebels and everyday people voicing their stance against oppression. In 2008 Yerena created the Hecho Con Ganas publishing project in which he produces politically and socially conscience images that are produced in limited edition silkscreen prints. Highly recognized for his activism, Yerena is the founder and curator of the Alto Arizona Art campaign (2010) as well as a founding member of the We Are Human campaign (2009). Yerena has collaborated on many thought provoking projects which include artists Zack de la Rocha, Shepard Fairey, Manu Chao, Ana Tijoux, Philip Lumbang, Jaque Fragua, Diane Ovalle, Chuck D, and Mochilla.
Prayer of the Ancestors
When I was about 10 or so, I remember having memories of my great grand parents and hanging out with them in the Rancho in the outskirts of Mexicali. I vividly remembered that when my great grandparents spoke to me they spoke in Spanish and also in another dialect or language. Since I was a very curious child and very eager to learn about myself and my family's history I asked my grandmother about the "other" language they spoke. My grandmother or as I referred to her "Mama Blanca" told me that they were speaking in Yaqui which I eventually learned is actually Yoeme but the people are Yaqui. Other than a few conversation here and there not much of my Yaqui ancestry was spoken about. In Mexico as like in many other societies and cultures that have been colonized there is sometimes shame about being indigenous or "non-white", so most people have assimilated into the "Mexican" identity and in many ways rejected the culture and languages of the ancestors. However, the rejection of the original ways did not start with "shame" it started as a means of survival. During and after the process of colonization people who lived in the cities tended to reject the traditional ways more and more. The introduction and in many ways force of the Catholic faith was a great tool to erase the original traditions. Not all indigenous nations or traditions where completely eradicated, to this day there are many tribes or nations that still live in there traditional ways in modern day Mexico. This is a true example of cultural perseverance and resilience. Over the years I have really tried to learn the TRUE version of History that was never taught to me in the public education system. The process of Decolonization I've sought to understand myself and my history by attempting to gather / reclaim / restore what was purposely erased through colonization. With that in mind those few conversations I had the privilege of having with my grandparents and great-grandparents about our relatives have become very important to me over time. In the past couple of years I have also come to realize how lucky I am to know exactly what nation some of my ancestors come from. Most Mexican-Americans have native or indigenous blood but most people do not know exactly what nation or even what languages are linked to them. This is not a coincidence, this is an example of Linguicide which happened during the colonization process. Taking into consideration that many people today who have indigenous ancestry may have little to no knowledge of their ancestral culture, traditions and languages, I wanted to create a image as a reminder that we are in fact indigenous and we cary the prayers of our ancestors within our spirit. This could be said about everyone on earth. Before Europe was fully colonized there where people living in harmony with earth and they didn't speak English! Decolonize! Honor the Ancestors! thanks-e
18"x24" screen-print. Edition of 150.
I created this image in order to honor Maiz or corn. As a people who are native to the continent where Maiz originates we identify as the people of the Maiz. In many indigenous nations Maiz or corn is a key element in the identity of the people. So if Maiz is gone so is the culture and heart of the people. Now a days companies like Monsanto have been desecrating our sacred relative by genetically modifying it. When our sacred relatives are harmed we are also harmed as a people and as a culture. About two years ago my good friend and fellow artist Jaque Fragua gifted me some Pueblo Corn Seeds that have been in his family for many generations. The seeds where never genetically modified and he asked me to keep them to myself and to not let them get in the wrong hands. It was a very special gift and it got me thinking of how rare these seeds where and how important they where to my friend Jaque. These seeds are not only seeds that grow corn. These seeds are a direct connection to Jaque and his ancestors, to his traditions, stories. Monsanto genetically modifying our seeds is a attempt to once again control our culture and destroy our connection to our ancestors and who we are as a people. Decolonize! thanks-e
18"x24" screen-print. Edition of 150.