Chicana/o Art Activism through Los Angeles Murals by Fonzy Toro
In this digital review, I question how historians have understood Chicana/o Activism in Los
Angeles Murals in the 20th century. The sites I examine include, an eBook titled The Empowerment: Chicana/o Indigenist Murals of California "Chapter 1 “The Dialectics of Continuity and Disruption – Chicana/o and Mexican," a digital journal article from PBS American Family Journey of Dreams titled “The Art of the Mural” by Artist/Professor Judith Baca, and lastly a chapter from KCET website focusing on Highland Park, “Painting the Walls.” I have placed out my road map in this nature because the first source offers a detailed historical backdrop, the second presents a series of important murals in relation to their time period and landscape, and the third is a more interactive site that has information on murals, as well as videos that explore the land and meaning, in a specific neighborhood of Los Angeles called Highland Park.
Mexican and indigenous political activism has existed in Los Angeles since the early 20th
century with murals such as the “America Tropical” painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros in 1932. Murals like "America Tropical" depicted the discrimination that Mexicans faced living in Los Angeles in the first half of the 20th century through its imagery portraying pain. However, it was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the Chicana/o art movement truly flourished through the expansion of artists and activists.
In this digital review, each of the examined sources present mural's that posses nuanced ideas and are detailed with great care. Each image, color, and style possesses great value because they connect people through their culture and political statements promoting solidarity and unity. These symbols range from religious figures like Virgen Guadalupe to images of political activist leaders such as Cesar Chavez. These murals are fundamental in understanding the Chicana/o movement and how it impacted this city's history.
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