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Guide to the Ralph Maradiaga collection CEMA 35
CEMA 35  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing note
  • Biography
  • Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Ralph Maradiaga collection
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 35
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 22.1 linear feet (4 document boxes, 3 binder boxes, 2 oversized boxes, 165 posters, 41 audio recordings, and 150 video recordings).
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1973-1983
    Date (inclusive): 1963-1993
    Abstract: 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 recordings. These recordings cover his extensive involvement in filmmaking as a producer and director.
    Physical Location: 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 for streaming online, links are provided in the video section.
    Language of Materials: The collection is predominantly in English, with some Spanish materials.
    creator: Maradiaga, Ralph

    Access Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

    Use Restrictions

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ralph Maradiaga Collection, CEMA 35, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Frank Maradiaga, 1986.

    Processing note

    Callie Bowdish and Daisy Martinez in 2013. Additional posters processed by Mari Khasmanyan and Lauren Cain, 2015.


    Ralph Maradiaga was born in San Francisco on October 27, 1934 and died on July 19, 1985.
    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, communities, and children towards expression and recognition of Chicano/a 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 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 la 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 René Yañez 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 titled, "Lost Childhood." Maradiaga devoted much time and energy in its planning and execution. The print held sentimental value for him as 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, Maradiaga 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. Biographical Series I holds autobiographical documents categorized by Maradiaga himself. The categories reflect different aspects of his professional career such as teacher, director, filmmaker and animator. These documents can be found in box 1 and box 2. Text materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series II. Writings 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. Text materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series III. Exhibits 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. Text materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series IV. Miscellaneous Series IV contains miscellaneous items such as Maradiaga's handmade greeting cards, and is located in box 1. Text materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series V. Subjects 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. Text materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series VI. Slides Series VI holds Maradiaga's extensive collection of slides. The slides mostly depict landscape scenes and can be found in slide boxes 5-7. Slides and photographs were kept in original order of preset categories as determined by Maradiaga.
    Series VII. Photographs Series VII has miscellaneous photographs. These include photographs of Maradiaga himself and of his artwork. This series can be found in box 7. Slides and photographs were kept in original order of preset categories as determined by Maradiaga.
    Series VIII. Audio Series VIII holds 41 audio items of various productions by Maradiaga. Many of these files are related to films that he produced or directed. Audio records are arranged numerically by their assigned number.
    Series IX. Video Series IX contains 150 video items from Maradiaga's involvement in filmmaking as a director and producer. Noteworthy files include "Incident at Downieville," and "A Measure in Time. Video records are arranged numerically by their assigned number.
    Series X. Posters Series X houses 115 posters from Maradiaga's collection. This series is held in the Del Norte map case drawers. They are arranged in chronological order according to their assigned numbers.
    Series XI. Assorted Art Work Series XI is comprised of two subseries: Additional Silkscreens and Mixed Media. It contains 39 silkscreen posters and 11 assorted posters, drawings, and stencils. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

    Related Material

    Galeria de la Raza (CEMA 4), Califas (CEMA 64), Rupert Garcia (CEMA 101)

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Galería de la Raza (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Mexican American artists--California--San Francisco
    Screen printing
    Sound recordings
    Video recordings
    Works of art