Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Ricardo Favela Papers CEMA 72
CEMA 72  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (137.30 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope Note
  • Series Description
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Biographical Sketch

  • Title: Ricardo Favela Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 72
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 9.2 linear feet (21 boxes)
    Date: 1970-2007

    Scope Note

    The Ricardo Favela Papers reflect his life as an artist, professor, activist, and community organizer. Favela's personal papers include correspondence, news clippings including articles concerning RCAF, as well as reports and exhibition announcements. Also included are his teaching files from CSUS, his papers related to various organizations and projects, and a collection of slides. The slides document his own work as an artist, and the work of his colleagues in the Centro de Artistas Chicanos as well as the work of his students and community members in the Barrio Arte program. The current papers cover from 1970 to 2007. The papers consist of eight series: Personal and Biographical Information, Correspondence, Teaching Files, Exhibits and Events, Organizations and Projects, Subjects, Publications, and Slides.

    Series Description

    Series I Personal and Biographical Information, 1974-2003
    This series contains various interviews, an oral history narrative, Favela's resume and his extensive curriculum vitae. It can be found in box 1.
    Series II Correspondence, 1982-2007 Box 1 contains miscellaneous correspondence arranged by date.
    Series III Teaching Files, 1972-2004
    This series holds student projects plans for the Barrio Art program, CSUS Art Department memos, and other miscellaneous papers related to Favela's role as a professor including evaluations of him as an instructor. This series is housed in boxes 1 through 3 and is arranged according to date.
    Series IV Exhibits and Events, 1975-2007
    This series can be found in boxes 3 through 5, box 13 and oversized box 14. It contains invitations, announcements, correspondence, publicity reports and handbills related to exhibitions or events. The content is arranged according to date.
    Series V Organizations and Projects, 1972-2007
    The Organization and Projects series contains brochures, agendas, flyers, memos and other materials related to various organizations such as the Barrio Art Program, the Centro de Artistas Chicanos, and the RCAF. This series is arranged alphabetically by organization name, then by date within each organization. It can be found in boxes 5 through 10 and in box 13 as well.
    Series VI Subjects, 1972-2003
    Boxes 10 through 11, box 13, and oversized box 14 contain miscelllaneous papers that Favela collected including Chicano themed papers, student essays and campaign material for former Sacramento mayor Joe Serna. Contents in this series are arranged alphabetically.
    Series VII Publications, 1975-2002
    This series contains original and photocopied articles from newspapers, newsletters, catalogs and magazines that Favela collected. These materials are arranged alphabetically and can be found in boxes 11 through 13 and in oversized box 14.
    Series VIII Slides, 1975-1998 Boxes 15 through 21 contain Favela's slide collection. His collection includes slides of RCAF artwork, community members participating in the Barrio Art program, miscellaneous posters and drawings, and his personal ceramics collection. The material was left according to original order.

    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.

    Conditions Governing Access note


    Biographical Sketch

    "For the most part, my works and those of the other Chicano/Indio artistas are not what the so-called experts call classic, or even technically brilliant. They are, however, works rooted in our concern for our people and culture, thus giving them a vibrant emotional life. The fact that, as a people, we are tied to the earth by our indigenous heritage and, ironically, by the great U.S. society's penchant for offering us nino farm worker occupation in our own occupied ancestral lands leads me to strive with my teaching and art to influence and ultimately give consequence to our present educational system, whether inside or outside the mainstream." –Ricardo Favela
    Born in the San Joaquin Valley to migrant farm worker parents, Ricardo Favela well understood the experience of American Mexican immigrants. He went on to attend college at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, and then California State University Sacramento where he received his B.A. in 1971. It was during the pursuit of his first degree that he became a fixture of Chicano Art. Favela along with Rudy Cuellar, Jose Montoya, Juanishi Orosco and Esteban Villa founded the activist artist group the Rebel Chicano Art Front, which later became known as the Royal Chicano Air Force, or RCAF. The RCAF was best known for its paintings, murals and posters but the group established itself as a collective through its use of wry humor and biting wit to express difficult cultural dialectics. The RCAF managed to tackle the most difficult problems of the day, problems dealing with the unique placement of Chicano identity, while maintaining a forward looking optimism.
    The RCAF brought to light the fundamental contradictions of a society which ignored the obvious cultural symbols and underpinnings of the growing Mexican American population. Favela in particular highlights this dichotomy with pieces that often featured the calaveras in the place of primary figures. By doing so he seemed to intimate at the spirit of the Chicano just beneath the surface in everything we see. He often attached calaveras to items with familiar contexts such as in the 1970 piece Police Brutality where calavera policeman arrests a protestor or the Official RCAF Ashtray where three calaveras each one representing an individual artist in the collective, grace an emblematic ashtray. Later on in a 1975 piece El Centro de Artistas Chicanos, two calaveras stand in duty for two obviously Chicano artists who seem poised in some artistic discussion capturing the semiotic juxtaposition of the ancient symbols with the new.
    Ricardo Favela's professional teaching career began as director and art administrator during his tenure at el Centro de Artistas Chicanos in Sacramento. In 1982 he began teaching art professionally at CSU Sacramento. He received his Masters of Arts from CSU Sacramento in 1989 and began working in the art department as a professor. Ricardo Favela also traveled and gave lectures, organizing and curating various art exhibits and retrospectives. He was the senior artist for CEMA's Proyecto C.A.R.I.D.A.D (Chicano Art Resources, Information, Development, and Dissemination) and his exhibitions have shown at the Oakland Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, the California State Capitol and the San Francisco Art Institute among many others. Ricardo Favela's death on July 15, 2007 was a major loss to the Chicano Art Movement.