Press And Interviews
Guadalupe Rosales on Preserving the Collective Memory of Chicano Youth Culture By Jelena Martinovic on June 4, 2019
Los Angeles-based artist and archivist Guadalupe Rosales investigates collective histories within Latinx youth culture in Southern California. Since 2015, she has been building an archive of photographs and ephemera, mainly from the 1980s and 1990s, but sometimes dating back much earlier, giving a voice to communities often underrepresented in official archives and public memory.
After living away from Los Angeles for a few years, Guadalupe began investigating her cousin’s gang-related death⎯a traumatizing event that contributed to her moving⎯as well as revisiting her experiences growing up in her native city. Along the way, she realized how important physical materials are in preserving memories and telling stories. Her Instagram project began with sharing her own personal photos from growing up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in the 1990s, soon inviting people to submit their own histories to the feed.
You have been building an archive of vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to the Latinx culture in Los Angeles for a few years now. How did this project come to be and what was your initial idea behind it?
This is a complex question because it’s not like the project has a beginning, although it does. I was living in New York for quite some time. I left Los Angeles in 2000 after years of grieving my cousin’s death and, most importantly, after seeing the pain it caused my family, especially my older sister. When I moved to New York, I knew nothing about that city. I left LA not knowing where I’d end up. I had never traveled this far and on my own. I also disconnected myself from LA, whatever that meant at the time, but still held on to memories of growing up In Los Angeles.
Artist Rosales has built an archive of vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to Latinx culture in Los Angeles. Guided by an instinct to create counternarratives, Rosales tells the stories of communities often underrepresented in official archives and public memory.
HAVERFORD, Pa.—Four women in baggy jeans and red lipstick stand on a bridge with the haze of Los Angeles smog in the background. A teenager with a faint mustache in an oversized Dallas Cowboys jersey poses with his arms around the waist of a girl in a crop top. The colorful striped shirts and bleached hair of four members of the Swing Kids party crew pop against a photographer’s plain gray dropcloth. These are just a few of the snapshots collected by Guadalupe Rosales’ Instagram account Veteranas and Rucas, which chronicles the stories of Southern California's Latinx youth for its more than 183,000 followers.
Though her Instagram began with her own personal photos from growing up in L.A.’s Boyle Heights neighborhood in the 1990s, they grew to include crowd-sourced images and other ephemera connected to L.A.’s Latinx youth culture. Guided by an instinct to create counternarratives, Rosales’ Instagram archive tells the stories of communities often underrepresented in official archives and public memory. She views such work as a way of decriminalizing and reframing the history of brown youth, as well as connecting and reconstituting community.
Created in collaboration with nonprofit photography foundation Aperture, Guadalupe Rosales: Legends Never Die, A Collective Memory gathers photos and related memorabilia to translate these stories from phone screens to the walls of Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. For this exhibition, which extends from a feature in Aperture’s Fall 2018 issue, “Los Angeles,” Rosales presents an installation of materials from her archives—from photobooth images of couples to young Chicanx women posing with cars to the party crews that ran East L.A.’s underground music scene in the 1990s.
All That Can Happen: Guadalupe Rosales by Marco Kane Braunschweiler Archiving Latinx culture in Southern California.
Guadalupe Rosales wrote in an email to me that she “creates counter-narratives, telling the stories of communities often underrepresented in official records and popular media by building archives of vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to Latino/a culture in Southern California.” These counter-narratives have taken form as two projects: Veteranas & Rucas (2015–ongoing) and Map Pointz (2016–ongoing). Both are archives, first viewable on Instagram. My interest in these projects is from the perspective of social documentary photography. Her work expounds on that history, as these archives carefully and elegantly create a portrait of everyday life, music, and partying in Southern California.
—Marco Kane Braunschweiler
On first encountering Guadalupe Rosales’s Untitled (all works 2018), a wall-based sculpture of a pager dangling from a string of pastel plastic raver beads, I felt the strange urge to look up the artist’s birth year. Here’s what I found: Rosales was born in 1980, two years before I was. While an artist’s age is often of trivial concern, it’s important here: As rough contemporaries, we have both seen telecommunications technologies shape and reshape our lived worlds, especially the experience of being a teenager in the 1990s. When we were in elementary school—she in Los Angeles, I in Austin—the only people who regularly used pagers seemed to be doctors, or maybe principals and drug dealers. But by middle school and high school, pagers were de rigueur (I remember arguing with my parents for one—they prevailed). Untitled struck me, then, as an earnest object. No post-internet irony here. Rosales takes a different, more rigorous tack with this installation, investing in the lush lifeways associated with objects such as pagers, party flyers, and glossy photographs. In short, she took me back—as much as she could take a white Jewish kid from Texas back to the Latinx communities of Los Angeles.
more here: ARTFORUM
California’s 1990s Chicano rave revolution as told through archived photos
Artist Guadalupe Rosales takes us deep into her photographic archives that celebrate the freedom of being young and Chicano
Split into two archives that are homed on Instagram, Rosales’ work as an archivist is increasing Chicano visibility by enabling young Chicanos to see themselves represented in wider American history. Stemming from her own hoard of family photos and memories, Rosales then extended the archive, inviting people to submit their own histories. Because of this, Rosales’ archives are extensive as they reach across time, space, and personal identities to produce an all-encompassing, collective documentation of Chicano as a subculture.
To read more: Click Here
“At that time, I truly felt how physical material is so important,” she said. “And that’s actually what pushed me to start the archive. I wanted people to start looking at their images and materials differently, to value their collections — that material tells a story.”
To read more: Click Here
In a small stack of photographs, a couple of magazines and an Instagram account, Guadalupe Rosales found the spark of inspiration that led to her first solo museum exhibition, “Echoes of a Collective Memory,” an installation that occupies an entire gallery at the Vincent Price Art Museum.
The photos were wallet-size — gauzy portraits of friends taken in mall photo studios known as “star shots.” The magazines were a pair of worn copies of Street Beat, the 1990s bi-monthly that chronicled the intersection of Chicano youth and the underground party scene, a publication The Times once described as “Rolling Stone for La Raza.”
For full article: Los Angeles Times
Back in the Days
Guadalupe Rosales and her archive of Chicano life in Los Angeles.
By Carribean Fragoza
Guadalupe Rosales moved to New York with little more than a stack of wallet-sized photographs to remind her of home. She’d left Los Angeles in 2000, a few years after her cousin, Ever Sanchez, was stabbed to death at a party. Nearing her twenties, at the beginning of a new millennium, she decided to relocate her life to New York, where she’d remain living for over a decade. During that time, as she came of age away from the violence that had marked her youth, she held on to those photographs not only as reminders of unresolved trauma, but also as important links to her past. The photographs, given to her by family and friends she had grown up with in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, were all made in a similar “glamour-shots style” using hazy filters. In the pre-selfie era, young people would flock to their local malls wearing coordinated outfits, sharply outlined lips and eyebrows, and meticulously teased perms to pose with friends in front of ambient backdrops. The diffused lighting spared them from blemishes, including emotional ones, and saturated the images with sentimentality that with time would turn into acute nostalgia.
To read more go to: https://aperture.org/blog/guadalupe-rosales/
Latino USA sits down with Rosales and her collaborator, Eddie Ruvalcaba, who photographed many of the parties during his teens. The pair give a glimpse of what those nights looked like and what happened when the party ended.
Los Angeles is full of amazing stories, but all too often the positive stories from our communities of color get scrubbed from the cultural memory. Back in the late ’80s, the mainstream narrative was that gangs had taken over the working-class neighborhoods of East L.A. following white flight, a narrative that fed into larger issues of racial tension and violence in Los Angeles. Within those Chicano communities, however, there was also a thriving backyard DJ and party scene, which is now thankfully being archived and collected at Map Pointz Project by local artist Guadalupe Rosales.
In East LA during the early '90s, Latino neighborhoods were home to a thriving party circuit that laid the foundations for the city's dance music scene. Matt McDermott charts the history of this overlooked community.
Veteranas and Rucas is an Instagram account dedicated to the SoCal ’90s party crew scene, which Guadalupe Rosales—New York-based, Los Angeles-raised—fanatically documents as part of her Map Pointz archive.