Juxtaposing beautifully colored, watercolor-drawn indigenous flowers of Northern California against stark, monochromatic images meticulously rendered in pen, I was inspired to focus my piece, Oakland Rises (End the Criminalization of Our People) on the hope and determination that youth of color bring in the face of systemic racism and criminalization.
As a Bay Area educator, I focus much of my work on inequities in the public education system, bringing to light issues such as school push-out, elementary genocide, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Narrative change is essential in combating racial discrimination and criminalization of youth and young adults of color. Oakland Rises (End the Criminalization of Our People) aims to encourage dialogue and action around these issues to help create change.
I dedicate this piece to the youth and young adults of color in Oakland, who have been working to change up the narrative. We see you. We hear you.
NATALIA ANCISO is a Chicana-Tejana visual artist, educator, and Rio Grande Valley, South Texas native. Natalia Anciso’s works are visual records of family, community, and focus primarily around identity and her experience growing up in the Rio Grande Valley. She researches vernacular arts like pano arte, handkerchief art believed to have emerged from Chicano prisoners in the 1940s, and the huipil, embroidered Mayan textiles worn by indigenous women in Southern and Central America. Arts integration and social justice are paramount to her work as an urban educator.
Anciso earned her BA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin, her MFA from the California College of the Arts, and her MA in Education from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education. Anciso has exhibited her work throughout the United States and internationally, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Her contributions as an artist have been acknowledged by The Huffington Post, Latina Magazine, Elle Magazine, and TVyNovelas, as well as by former United States Secretary of Education, John King, Jr. She is based in Oakland, California.