Melanie Cervantes is a Xicana activist-artist whose role is to translate the hopes and dreams of justice movements into images that agitate and inspire. Melanie’s work includes black and white illustrations, paintings, installations and paper stencils.
She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ethic Studies. Melanie works full-time as a Senior Program Officer at the Akonadi Foundation which supports movement-building organizations working to end structural racism in the United States. While at Akonadi she co-founded the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, an alliance of funders working strengthen grantmaking for social justice movements in the Bay Area and beyond.
As an artist, Cervantes has exhibited at Galería de la Raza (San Francisco); Woman Made Gallery and National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago); Mexic-Arte and Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (Austin, TX); Crewest (Los Angeles); and at the Musée d’Aquitaine (Bordeaux, France). Her work is in public collections of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the Latin American Collection of the Green Library at Stanford, and the Hispanic Research Center at the Arizona State University as well as various private collections throughout the U.S. She formed 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.