Siqueiros Mural Project
In 1932, two years following the opening of Olvera Street, prominent Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros during his six-month stay in Los Angeles painted a mural entitled América Tropical on the south wall of the Italian Hall where the Plaza Art Center was located. The 18 x 80 foot masterpiece allegorically depicts the struggle of indigenous cultures against imperialism. Its central figure is a crucified indigenous peasant tied to a double cross while an American eagle—a symbol of U.S. imperialism—perches menacingly above. In the background, a crumbling Mayan pyramid overrun by vegetation, signifies the destruction of indigenous cultures, as the figures of an armed Peruvian peasant and a Mexican farmer crouch on a wall, ready to defend themselves. Controversial since its unveiling, América Tropical was entirely painted over by 1938. A historic partnership between the City of Los Angeles and Getty will allow for the construction of a viewing platform and interpretive center so that the public may once again enjoy one of the city’s most-prized artistic treasures.
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