UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies M191 Summer Sessions 2014

This is the discussion blog for the Winter 2016 UCLA Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies' Public Art course M185 (Same as Art M185 and WLArts M126).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Week 4- Estrada Courts


     This week I really enjoyed visiting Estrada courts especially because I have never visited nor heard of this location in East LA. I was really fascinated not only by the murals but by the vibe this environment gave off. Walking onto Estrada Courts I was not really sure what to expect, but once we did walk through I felt that there was this sense of tight knit community and its residents were very protective. I had never experienced living in this type of community, since where I live most of my neighbors do not talk to each other and tend to mind their own business. I thought it was beautiful that these residents live in a community surrounded by murals. These murals portray the culture and history of the Latino community. It is amazing having these murals, because in a sense it reminds us to never forget about our history and roots. Not only that but I feel that these murals are a form of empowerment for Latinas/os and the community in Estrada Courts.
     In this weeks’ readings in Chapters 3 and 4, the author further expands on murals and graffiti being different and having their own individual type of art form. Murals having a greater degree of approval by the public, while graffiti was seen as defiant by the public. Throughout the community graffiti was criticized by the art world and even today this ant-graffiti attitude continuous to persist. In chapter 4, LaTorre talks about the presence of mural environments in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. I really found fascinating this idea of mural environments, environments that consist of ideas to create a series of murals in close proximity to one another and within a defined and limited space. This past week at Estrada Courts we saw a clear example of a mural environment. These murals were painted on both sides of the walls of these homes only within Estrada Courts. I also learned in the reading that the purpose of creating these murals in Estrada Courts was to beautify the barrio and keep the youth from marking these buildings with graffiti.  These murals were part of a program in the 70s by Felix “Gato” Gonzalez and were made with the environment in mind.  Well-known artists painted the murals on the outside for the public. While the murals on the inside of Estrada Courts was made for the community itself and were painted by young artists/students.
     The two murals that caught my attention and I really liked are “Dreams of Flight” by David Botello and the “Moratorium.” I really liked how the “Dreams of Flight” mural, Botello was trying to get away from the Aztec and Mayan ideas and focus more on children’s dreams, potential, and aspiration. Throughout the mural we see this notion of flight whether it is the child swinging on the tire or the winged-eagle knight. These images and symbols metaphorically represent aspirations and dreams that have been denied to the Mexican and Chicana/o community from East LA. 
     The “Moratorium” stood out to me right away because it was very powerful; it portrayed a lot of emotions. From the start when I looked at this mural my attention was drawn to the screaming face, I feel this represents all the suffering and discrimination that Chicanos had to endure. There was a huge protest in East LA by the Chicano/Latino community protesting the Vietnam War. This mural is in regards to the Vietnam War and Chicano Movement. We can see that this mural was one of the most washed out murals, because it has not been repainted while some of the other murals have. I really enjoyed and was extremely fascinated by this mural environment, not only by the murals, but also by the sense of community and closeness this community holds.

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