Cheech Marin is perhaps best known as half of the famous Cheech and Chong comedy team, but his visit to the University of Wyoming is as an art collector. Selections from his Chicano art collection are on display at the UW Art Museum through November 23.
Marin says his exhibit of small paintings—Chicanitas—represents a variety of styles, but they all give voice to the Chicano, or Mexican-American, experience.
“Chicano neighborhoods, Chicano people, Chicano rituals. And it’s told from a myriad of viewpoints, whether it’s historical or religious or humorous or gender based. And when you put all these points of view together you get kind of the 360 of that feeling.”
When Marin began collecting more than 25 years ago, the idea of a Chicano school of art rankled the establishment. He says as a kid, he never saw pictures of his culture in museums.
Now that’s changed, as Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the population. Marin says art is the most gentle and positive way to present a culture and start a conversation. “Here, here’s what it looks like. We come in peace.”