Glass Negatives Offer Clear View of the Mexican Revolution

UCR ARTSblock, UCR Libraries Special Collections & Archives and Emeritus Faculty Join Forces to Showcase Century-old Pictures

Sabino Osuna photograph of Felicistas in the YMCA. Photo courtesy of UCR Libraries Special Collections.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Look back more than 100 years to a vision of the Mexican revolution from one nearly unknown photographer, Sabino Osuna. And listen as experts put it in historical, economic and artistic perspective.

It all starts Saturday, Nov. 3 on the ARTSblock with a panel discussion and book signing from 3 to 5 p.m. and a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.

The exhibit, called to “Mexico at the Hour of Combat: Sabino Osuna’s Photographs of the Mexican Revolution,” coincides with Riverside’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration as well as the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, November 20th, 1910, when Francisco “Pancho” Villa and Pascual Orozco led the first insurrectionist attack.  The exhibit continues through Jan. 5, 2013 and will tour the country after that.

“It’s an exquisite archive of photographs, much of which was unknown to the outside world,” said UCR Professor Emeritus Ronald Chilcote, who could never shake the feeling that the images from the glass negatives would make a great book.  A professor who taught both political science and economics, and the editor of the journal “Latin American Perspectives” for nearly 40 years, he said he is glad to see the book and the exhibit have its day in the sun. “We wanted the world to know about it,” he said. “It reflects the strong campus interest in Latin America.”

The 118-page book edited by Chilcote and published by Laguna Wilderness Press is based on the Osuna Collection of 427

Sabino Osuna photograph of Francisco “Pancho” Villa after dismounting from his horse. Photo courtesy of UCR Libraries Special Collections.

glass negatives of the Mexican Revolution, held in UC Riverside Libraries Special Collections & Archives. The collection mainly covers the period 1910 to 1914, dramatic images taken by a commercial photographer in Mexico City, whose work shifted from portraiture and architectural studies to photo history when the Revolution began.

Chilcote will be part of the panel, along with Tyler Stallings, artistic director of the UCR Culver Center of the Arts; and Melissa Conway, distinguished librarian and head of Special Collections & Archives at UCR Libraries, and essayists from the book, including familiar UCR figures Carlos Cortes, Eliud Martinez and Peter Briscoe.

Support for this exhibition and the publication has been provided by UC Mexus, UCR Libraries, Latin American Perspectives, and Laguna Wilderness Press.

Stallings said the look into Mexico’s history is a continuation of UCR ARTSblock’s programs related to issues and cultures in Latin America. Recent examples include an exhibition that worked with undocumented students in “Margarita Cabrera: Pulso y Martillo (Pulse and Hammer)” at Sweeney Art Gallery/Culver Center of the Arts, and “Las Olivdadas: The Forgotten Women—Photographs by Maya Goded” at California Museum of Photography, both in 2011, or the six year traveling exhibition, “Revolution and Commerce: The Legacy of Korda’s Portrait of Che Guevara.”


Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756

Additional Contacts

Tyler Stallings
Tel: 951-827-3755

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