Hello All! A few weeks ago, I finally made it to Chicano Park. I had read about it in another wordpress blog, Cool San Diego Sights. The art work fascinated me. I love art so wanted to see the outdoor murals but also since I grew up in Southern AZ, I’ve always been close to the Latino community. I worked with Central American Refuges starting in 1986 and ending in near the end of 1997, so am sensitive to the plight of immigrants, and had been since childhood.
I hope that all who visit the area can check out this beautiful art work and feel all the dedication behind it. The park has quite the history. It arose out of the invasion of industry that took over Barrio Logan and ended with the San Diego Coronado bridge being built in the middle of the Barrio, leaving gigantic concrete support pylons and on ramps in its wake. This is a great website that talks about the history, has photos of the various murals, more information and other links to go to as well. http://www.chicanoparksandiego.com/history/index.htm
The park is now 7.9 acres and includes a skate park, playgrounds, picnic tables, various community buildings and the largest outdoor mural collection in the country. On April 22nd every year, Chicano Park day is celebrated to commemorate the day the militant, but non-violent, people’s land take over that led to the city and state finally agreeing to let the community make something beautiful where this concrete monster had taken over their Barrio.
I took many photos so this subject will take two posts!
The first photo states “All the Way to the Bay”. The Barrio used to extend all the way to the bay but then the bay was taken over by the Navy and defense industries.
This mural states ” Let me say at the risk of seeming ridiculous that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love” Che Guveara.
The next two photos are part of the same structure.
This mural is titled “The Undocumented Worker”. At the base it states : “A contemporary story through symbolism. Read the painting from the bottom to the top. I. The immigration helicopters looking for the undocumented worker who is already a part of the landscape. People are caught and put in boxes on display. II. The road and the fence. Two realities of movement: To be caught and eaten by the border guards (monsters) or to fall from the sun’s heat like Icarus. III. After crossing the border we possess two hearts. One on fire for the homeland. The other of water for the river. We are bodies without faces. Monsters and disaster follow us through the mountains. Our struggle turns to flames. IV. Change is not a dream. We can leap over history and monsters. Not even the stars are out of reach. V. Barrios, walls and fences must be moved. Must be broken down. Between countries. Between people. Between neighborhoods.”
Throughout the park there are images that reflect all the cultures that make up the Chicano culture.
This next mural states ” The V in Barrio symbolizes victory over environmental conditions. ! Varrio Si Yonkes No! (yonkes is the word for junkyards, as junkyards took over the Barrio along with other industrialization) Represents the intent of our community to take back our environment from industry. With the uplifting of the Barrio, the people as well must be uplifted, or the Renaissance is not complete. Los Vatos Al Varrio.
This mural states it was painted in 1977 and gives the list of artists.
This is another mural that shows the struggle of the immigrant worker and the fight for justice. In the background you can see the Strength Thru Unity mural.
This next mural states: “Ya Basta! The schools are not teaching us. Over 50% of us Chicanos are pushed out of school. If we want to make it, we have to surrender our language. They want to make us coconuts – brown on the outside and white on the inside.”
Here’s a very colorful one….Parque Chicano.
The next one is a San Diego Community Project. It was created on 4-23-93 the day that Cesar Chavez died. On the cross beams it states “Para Raza” and “Humana/Paz” and “Justica” and lastly ” We are not a minority”. The mural also honors Chicano Park artist Roger Lucero 1953-1992. I took photos of two of the other sides and the cross beams. One states “Stop the Violence”.
This next mural was done by Lowell muralists on April 22, 1983.
I’m not sure what group this next mural is depicting. The link above leads to a full description of each mural and its artists.
And lastly, I’ll share the “Hasta La Bahia” mural.
Here is a statue of General Emiliano Zapata, 8/8/1879 – 4/10/1919, who was instrumental in the Mexican Revolution.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me. While there I was walking around just wowed by the artists and the beauty they created within a mass of concrete. I hope you get a chance to come check it out yourself. There are many more murals. I’ll be back with more photos!