The last few weeks have been hectic, but here are finally some shots of "María de la Reforma", the mural I painted this month for the All City Canvas public art project in Mexico City. The culture of Mexico and muralism go hand in hand so this was just a natural continuation of a long tradition there. The mural is over ten stories high, located by the Paseo de la Reforma, which is one of the city's largest, most famous thoroughfares. It was an honor for me to paint this there because not too far away on this same street in the IMSS building is one of my favorite murals ever, by the famous Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena.
Painting the mural involved a daily battle with the sun, lift problems, breathing constant exhaust smoke, and most especially- painting the entire thing from a little swinging basket that hung from a crane. I could have used a little more time to finish the mural but I'm still proud of how it came out. It was also humbling and overwhelming to see how supportive local people were.
The image I painted is based on photos I took of a social activist & poet named María Guardado, who was tortured and left for dead in 1980 by government forces during the civil war in El Salvador. She was one of thousands of civilian victims of that war, during which the US-backed Salvadoran government employed death squads to kill & terrorize everyone from poor farmers to nuns to students. Maria survived and fled the country for Los Angeles, where today she is still a passionate fighter for social justice.
Along with other economic and political problems, Mexico has been enduring a bloody six-year drug war which has left at least 50-60,000 people dead so far. In this election year in Mexico, I think many people are hopeful that things will get better. I'd like this mural to be seen as a symbol of hope and strength.
Many thanks to Maria Guardado, la familia Celaya y ARTO, Claudia, Andrea, Martin y el resto del equipo ACC, Roberto Shimizu of the incredible MUJAM, Gonzalo de MAMUTT, Arturo & Fifty24MX gallery, John Carr & Eyerie, Kim & Djentrification of course..as well as everyone else that came by to show support