Conditions Governing Access note
Conditions Governing Use note
Related Archival Materials
Title: Ralph Maradiaga collection
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 35
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material:
(4 document boxes, 3 binder boxes, 2 oversized boxes, 115 posters, 41 audio items, and 150 video items.)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1973-1983
Date (inclusive): 1969-1993
The Ralph Maradiaga Collection covers Maradiaga's educational, professional and creative accomplishments. They are recorded
in exhibit materials, poetry, posters and other papers. Many slides and photos are part of this collection as well. The photos
cover much of his personal and professional life as an artist. Included are also numerous audio and video files. These files
cover his extensive involvement in film making as a producer and director.
Del Norte (Boxes 1-7), Del Norte Oversized (Boxes 8-9), Del Norte map case (posters). There are some videos from this collection
that are available streaming online, links are provided in the video section.
Language of Materials:
The collection is predominantly in English, with some Spanish materials.
Conditions Governing Access note
Service copies of audiovisual items may need to be made before viewing or listening. Please consult Special Collections staff
for further information.
Conditions Governing Use note
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
Ralph Maradiaga Collection, CEMA 35, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California,
Gift of Frank Maradiaga, 1986.
Processed by Callie Bowdish and Daisy Martinez.
Born in San Francisco on October 27, 1934 and died on July 19, 1985.
Ralph Maradiaga has been described as an unassuming man who had a vision for the development of art for Chicanos in the United
States and in international circles. He had a deep commitment to inspire and organize artists, community people and children
toward expression and recognition of Chicano art and culture. This quest became a reality in the late 1960's when he co-founded
La Galeria de la Raza, a non-profit community arts organization in the Latino Mission District of San Francisco.
He is considered a pioneer for Chicano art, given that he made it possible for other groups of Chicano artists to get started
in their careers as artists, providing a forum and a physical place for these artists to present their works. This was a significant
role for him since mainstream art galleries did not consider Chicano art as a legitimate form of expression. He helped to
set standards and guidelines both in the installation and in the quality of work to be presented in Chicano exhibits.
Maradiaga was known to have a great artistic sensitivity and an even greater creative curiosity, qualities which drew him
away from early employment with an engineering business firm, and later, from an insurance agency. The field of applied business
did not seem to fulfill him. The artistic world captured his attention and thereafter, he focused on developing his aesthetic
inclinations and interests as well as on completing his academic degrees.
He earned a B.A. degree in printmaking from San Francisco State University in 1971. He had two M.A. degrees; one, in printmaking
also from San Francisco State University, in 1975, and the other in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University the same
year. There were many facets to Maradiaga's knowledge and achievements. Besides being an artist, he also was a teacher, a
filmmaker, an animator, a photographer, and a curator for many of the exhibits shown at La Galeria. He added to his diverse
roles by serving as Administrative Director for La Galeria de las Raza and provided a guiding hand to budding artists while
a consultant to the participants in the Artists in Residence Program at La Galeria. His contributions included developing
logos and catalog designs for various local businesses and community groups.
He traveled widely in the United States and abroad. One of his trips included a visit to Russia in 1984. Always the inveterate
photographer, he recorded many of these experiences on film. He showed an intense interest in, and great awareness of, local
issues as well as world events affecting human beings as a whole but in particular Chicanos. Although no specific mentors
have been found, he is believed to have been influenced by the indigenous cultural roots of Mexico, which were such important
symbols in the early days of the 1960's Chicano Movement. He worked closely with Rupert Garcia, another important Chicano
artist as well as with Rene Yanez who was his close friend, mutual confidante, fellow artist and co-founder of La Galeria
de la Raza.
As an artist, he crossed many boundaries and gained, as well as applied, many skills to his works. When he began as a silkscreen
artist, he did not have the equipment to facilitate his work so, undauntingly, he continued creating and producing his posters
under the most rustic conditions, works that captured the history of his community as well as his own spirit.
It wasn't until 1984, when he went to Self-Help Graphics in Los Angeles, to work with their master screen printer, that he
had access to an advanced printmaking workshop. The experience and knowledge that he gained there enabled him to continue
developing and exploring his creative potential. An example of this is depicted in his silkscreen work titled, "Lost Childhood."
Maradiaga devoted much time and energy in its planning and execution. The print held sentimental value for him since it manifested
a sense of loss for the changing nature of the neighborhood where he grew up.
He co-exhibited the first Latino art show in San Francisco's Casa Hispana in 1970. Since then, his prints have hung in the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in Washington, D.C., in San Juan, Puerto Rico and at various galleries in Mexico City.
His work is also represented in the Museum of modern Art's permanent collection in New York.
As an artist and as a teacher he worked with graphic design, photography, silk screening, printmaking, and filmmaking. The
latter included an educational film called "A Measure of Time" which was narrated by Luis Valdez, playwright and founder of
El Teatro Campesino.
The context of Ralph Maradiaga's work can best be understood in the following statement which he made on the occasion of his
participation in the 1985 exhibition "Personal Reflection," the year that he died: "The images I use in my work are a reflection
of our culture, its people and its tradition. As artists we must all share our customs, lifestyles and imagery with one another.
It is only through artistic, social and political ideologies that we ascertain and retain a place in history and document
it for our children."
Text Author Margarita L. Banuelos
Series I holds autobiographical documents categorized by Maradiaga himself. The categories reflect different aspects of his
professional career such as teacher, director, film maker and animator. These documents can be found in box 1 and box 2.
Series II is comprised of Maradiaga's poetry and an untitled script that he authored. Series II is found partially in box
1 and the rest is in oversized box 8.
Series III has materials related to three main exhibits: "Día de los Muertos", "South Africa: State of Emergency", and an
exhibit on California History. These related images, flyers and other materials are found in box 1, box 4 and oversize boxes
8 and 9.
Series IV contains miscellaneous items such as Maradiaga's handmade greeting cards, and is located in box 1.
Series V is comprised of various research interests such as Mexican artists, murals, Latin American art etc. These files are
stored in boxes 2 and 8.
Series VI holds Maradiaga's extensive collection of slides. The slides mostly depict landscape scenes and can be found in
slide boxes 5-7.
Series VII has miscellaneous photographs. These include photographs of Maradiaga himself, and of his artwork. This series
can be found in box 7.
Series VIII holds 41 audio items of various productions by Maradiaga. Many of these files are related to films that Maradiaga
produced or directed.
Series IX contains 150 video items from Maradiaga's involvement in film making as a director and producer. Noteworthy files
include "Incident at Downieville" and "A Measure in Time.
Series X houses 115 posters from Maradiaga's collection. This series is held in the Del Norte map case drawers.
Text materials were arranged alphabetically within each series.
Slides and photographs were kept in original order of preset categories as determined by Maradiaga.
All media materials including audio, video and posters were arranged by assigned numbers.
Related Archival Materials
Galeria de la Raza, Califas, Rupert Garcia, Rene Yañez
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Galería de la Raza (San Francisco, Calif.)
Mexican American artists -- California -- San Francisco