These photographs speak to cultural identity and what it means to be Mexican American in today's complex and ever-changing world. Lowriders and car clubs are a key element of chicano identity and expression. Likewise, paleteros have a deep connection with Mexican American culture and reality, and have been a mainstay in the community, while bringing back memories of childhood and nostalgia and the ringing of the ice cream bell. The photos highlight a people group that is resilient, proud, and also rooted in a neighborhood and space that not only reflects the past and history, but a space that represents change and forward motion toward the future while facing head on the almost imminent and unfortunate gentrification of the barrio. Much like Mexican Americans sometimes have a sense of struggle and ambiguity concerning cultural identity (as witnessed in Gina Valdes' poem Where you from?), my photos show only glimpses into moments of this reality, and do not try to answer any big questions about life and culutre. This ambiguos reality comes out in my artistic take of the subject matter: I tend to shoot reflections, include out of focus elements, and also people wearing masks. To me, this makes the viewer want to know more about the identity of who is in the photos and what makes their story unique. So join me as we take a ride in a lowrider, get a cool limón fruit popsicle from the ice cream man, and enjoy the cultural richness of Lolos y Paleteros and the beautiful space that is Chicano Park. ¡Órale!
Also by Scott Bennett —
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