Los Angeles was once the mural capital of the world.
Thousands of murals were painted here--and in nearby cities and counties--in the late twentieth century, most of them by Chicana/o artists. Many appeared as part of el movimiento, the Chicana/o civil rights movement. These works challenged what some people believed about art and society.
Instead of working alone, Chicana/o artists often invited community members to help plan and paint. More than decoration, their murals conveyed powerful messages. They called attention to unequal treatment of Mexicans and Mexican Americans; celebrated Chicana/o heritage, history, and neighborhoods; and expressed pride and power. Such qualities threatened people in positions of authority and many responded negatively, endangering Chicana/o murals.
¡Murales Rebeldes! presents stories of eight Chicana/o murals that were censored, neglected, whitewashed, and even destroyed. They are a small fraction of the hundreds of murals under siege. Their fates represent a larger issue: without protection and advocacy, Chicana/o murals--a cornerstone of Los Angeles's cultural and historical heritage--remain imperiled. We celebrate these important works of public art in the hope that Los Angeles will flourish as mural capital once again.