Megan Wilson
Writings > Ese – Last of His Tribe

Ese – Last of His Tribe
Through September 21

The year is 2002 and one sole Mexican has managed to escape the cultural clear-cutting that resulted from the economic reclassification of apartments to “epartments” 15 months earlier. “Ese – Last of His Tribe,” a digital mural installed at Galeria de la Raza on the Bryant Street wall at 24 th Street, is the latest dot-com-mentary by artist John Leanos in collaboration with Monica Praba Pilar, Rene Garcia, Gerardo Perez and Jaime Cortez. “Ese” is the third in a series of digital murals on the theme of gentrification and displacement. In this prophetic vision, a boot tramples a reprint of a publication entitled “San Francisco Re-Examiner,” dated May 5, 2000. The headline story of this “dot-com edition” reads “One Last Mexican Discovered in the Mission.” The article is accompanied by an image of a dark-skinned man peering out warily from the bushes of Dolores Park where he had supposedly been living a feral lifestyle and surviving on foccacia crumbs and leftover bits of antipasti before his capture. Alluding to the purported spiritual bankruptcy of the new e-conomy, the report continues, “Ese's pre-digital behavior is an unparalleled anthropological learning experience … when he's frightened or confused, he will actually get down on his knees and pray for answers and guidance.” In a more subtly placed, yet related story, Mayor Brown is quoted as saying “I'm happy that we don't have to see these people hanging around the streets. Like I've always said, ‘If you can't afford to live here move out.'” Founded in 1970, Galeria de la Raza is one of the oldest community-based arts organizations in the country. Throughout its history Galeria has sought to increase public awareness and appreciation of Chicano/Latino art and culture. Hopefully it will still be here and thriving in 2002.

Galeria de la Raza
Corner of 24 th and Bryant
(415) 826-8009 (Megan Wilson)