By Bernardo Calderon
There is an under-appreciated mural at the center of the East Los Angeles College campus.
The mural is located in the foyer of the Ingalls Auditorium (G3 building).
This mural was created by the late Raúl Anguiano. He was a part of the second wave of Mexican muralists.
It was also the last mural he created because the finish piece was presented to the public on his 87th birthday.
Seventeen years later the mural is still in the G3 building and catalogs Mexican history with a heavy emphasis on art.
The mural shows many different aspects of Mexican history.
One of the most prominent aspects of the mural is the representation of “Los Tres Grandes” (The Three Great Ones), which are the three most influential muralists before Anguiano.
Those that were before Anguiano were Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
To the right of Rivera is Frida Kahlo, his wife and an artist of her own right.
Behind Siqueiros is the hanged person of his controversial mural “America Tropical.”
In front of Orozco, a sketch sits on a table. The sketch is of “Prometheus,” A mural at the Pomona College in the Frary Dining hall.
All of these details make a call back to the artists most prominent works contributing to the representation of Mexico in the field of art.
The very intentional choice to include the three artists was to respect the value of art as a factor in the documentation of history.
Chicano Studies professor, Mary Romo, said the muralist put Mexico on the map for a U.S. audience and later globally.
There was a new voice that challenged the ideals of European art and this validation contributed to the Mexican national identity.
Now that feeling of being under-appreciated applies to a greater portion of the population at ELAC by those who are not introduced to the mural in a chicano studies or art class.
The mural is very significant because of the Mexican history from indigenous roots of the civilization to modern day artists.
It encapsulates only a small portion of history due the restrictions of the building’s dimensions.
Murals, by definition, are meant to be available to the public as a way to remove the financial barrier that has been entwined into art culture.
Deprivatization of art has always been important to move society forward by having everyone be exposed to the abstract thinking needed when encountering art.