Chapter 4 The Importance of the Heart in Chicana Artistry: Aesthetic Struggle, Aisthesis, “Freedom”

  • Juan D. Mah y Busch
Part of the Literatures of the Americas book series (LOA)


Chicana cultural production, with its various forms of artistry, regularly theorizes the heart. A few artistic philosophers write about the heart, or its common association, love; more often, philosopher artists theorize in their work the force of the heart, though often only indirectly. In this essay, I sketch the content and context of the awareness found in the heart, in its form and function. To do so, I do not just draw attention to images of the heart found in the content of a text but also to the current of that which underwrites the image, the heartbeat of the artwork itself. Below the surface of the aesthetic fabric—whether that fabric is the aesthetic sensibility of the “natural” world, of human behavior, or, as is most often discussed, of a piece of art, those creative products of culture—qualities and movements of color and tone come together in the moment of form, offering a more visible event constituted by the content and function of heart-felt awareness. And it is attention to the heartfelt, both its images as well as its currents, that can make our idea of “freedom,” in what may at first seem paradoxical, that makes freedom at once more tangible as well as more theoretically viable.


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© Ellie D. Hernández and Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson 2014

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  • Juan D. Mah y Busch

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