Murals in LA express identity, empower communities, and challenge dominant cultural norms, making them targets of censorship and destruction. Chicana/o murals in the greater Los Angeles area have been censored through destruction, removal, whitewashing, or neglect. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, ¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege, exhibit will be on display at LA Plaza.
Los Angeles Chicano Mural History
In 1920 the Mexican government initiated a project for murals. The influence of the Mexican Mural Movement spread and inspired the Chicano Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Through protests and their art, the Chicano movement demanded justice and equality. Within months of its completing América Tropical on Olvera Street some scenes of artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, are considered anti-American and are whitewashed completely within 2 years.
Committed to the sociopolitical activism and ideology of el movimiento, the Los Angeles area experienced a surge of mural production during the 1970s and 1980s making it the mural capital of the world. The distinction is now held by Philadelphia.
Barbara Carrasco’s L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective is displayed at Union Station as part of the Los Angeles Festival, the first and only time the Los Angeles public has seen the mural in its entirety.
In 1988, Shell Oil Co. bulldozes East Los Streetscapers’ Filling Up on Ancient Energies without first notifying the artists. The Streetscapers decide to sue Shell Oil Co., which commissioned the mural, for its destruction and won in 1991. The judge ruled that murals are considered “paintings,” as defined by the California Art Preservation Act (Botello vs Shell Oil). The ruling sets precedent for the protection of murals under the act.
In 2000, Ernesto de la Loza’s El Nuevo Mundo: Homage to the Worker is destroyed when the Peerless Hardware Store building on which it is painted is sold to the city to make way for the Edendale branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. The building and the mural are demolished.
Ernesto de la Loza paints Organic/Manmade inside the Los Angeles Public Library Edendale branch, built on the site of his demolished mural El Nuevo Mundo: Homage to the Worker.
¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege
LA Plaza de culturas y artes
September 23, 2017 – February 27, 2018.
The exhibit examines the controversial legacy of 8 murals created during 1960s and 1970s and eventually destroyed. Barbara Carrasco’s 16-20 ft x 80 ft mural will be displayed at Union Station next week for the first time in 27 years. The exhibit explores Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. For additional information visit Murales Rebeles