Melanie Cervantes

Melanie Cervantes is a Xicanx artist and activist based in Oakland, Bay Area. She is a member of the Justseeds Collective, Taller Tupac Amaru, and the Consejo Gráfico. She co-founded Dignidad Rebelde with printmaker Jesus Barraza, a collaborative graphic arts project that uses principles of Xicanisma and Zapatismo to translate stories of struggle and resistance into artwork that can be put back into the hands of the communities who inspire it.
Melanie’s instagram



Indigenous Women Defending Land, wheatpaste by Melanie Cervantes, Unceded Voices 2015
“As individuals, as organizations, as communities or as a people, Indigenous women continually prove their strength in the face of threat and adversity. Our responses show that we are not passive victims of oppression but fierce actors in the indigenous peoples’ struggles for survival. We have formed organizations and networks. They have initiated community-based projects to respond to basic needs of our people. We have been in the forefront of numerous actions of indigenous peoples to defend our land, our lives and our livelihood. We mixed in a piece by Lianne Charlie and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde which reads Tiotia:ke, the Mohawk name for “Montreal” which means where the currents meet. I am also repping Jesus Barraza’s Tierra Indigena in this wheatpaste mural. “



Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne’, mural collaboration by Melanie Cervantes and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, Unceded Voices 2015
 ” Thank you to @yoselinmx for sitting for this piece. We talked about yearning for the languages of our indigenous abuelas and what it means to define who we are today. This piece also celebrates the knowledge that is so common that we forget it is rooted in indigenous wisdom. The maguey plant (agave) is well known for giving us tequila and mescal bit did you know it can also be used as fiber for hammocks, carpets, fishnets, and rope as well as clothing, food and a healing agent that kills e coli and staph? It was mashed into paper to make codices! The books that the Spaniards burned when they invaded these lands. This knowledge is so close and common yet we some times can’t account for it. We are so close we look past it. Like trying to chase a rainbow which is the reflection of light in droplet of water we just have to stop, pay attention and look at things with the right angle to see them. Aiako’nikonhraién:ta’ne’ is a Mohawk word that translates to- to come to understand and that is what man of us Xicanxs are working so diligently to do against the violence of forgetting that colonialism pushes us toward. To understand who we are and where we come from.”

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