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Cecilia Alvarez: Revolutionary artist at New Freeway Hall
Cecilia Alvarez: Revolutionary artist at New Freeway Hall
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

For several years now, I've seen the beautiful and classic work of artist Cecilia Alvarez via the catalogue I get once in a while, which features revolutionary posters, cards and tee-shirts, and I've always admired the earthy representations of strong women in her work. So, it was a rare treat to actually meet artist Cecilia Alvarez last week (Thursday, September 20th), at the program put together to celebrate Latino Heritage Month at New Freeway Hall, as part of Radical Women's series of dinner/panels.

Alvarez, who is of Cuban and Mexican descent, showed slides of her work, weaving anecdotes about how two of the oversized paintings created firestorms of controversy in both Pasco and Spokane, because of her use of Mexican and Caribbean iconography. She said that one painting/installation (which was displayed in Spokane), caused a woman to say that she considered the painting to be sexual harassment and to get Alvarez a feature in U.S. World and News, calling her a 'satanic artist'. Alvarez, unperturbed by the flack, continued to do works that spoke to her political and social beliefs that the earth and women, particularly, are and were being exploited in a deteriorating capitalist system.

To honor Alvarez's heritage and to celebrate Latino Heritage Month, a delicious Mexican dinner was prepared by RW volunteers, and made the evening that much more enjoyable. People who attended also stayed behind to discuss with Alvarez and purchase some of her work, which she had brought with her. Also discussed was the recent conflict in Jena, Louisiana, in which six young, Black students were jailed after beating a white student, who ended up in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. One student was still being jailed and charged with what citizens of the town found to be an unfair sentence, which prompted a huge protest rally last week. The mitigating cause of the initial altercation between the Black and white students was the Black students sitting under what for years has been called 'the white tree'-a tree where whites can sit, but Blacks cannot. For more information on upcoming actions by RW around this situation and other programs/dinners/panels, including the observance of the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara's death on September 29th, call 206-722-6057, or go to www.socialism.com.
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