¡Murales Rebeldes!

L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege




LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, in partnership with The California Historical Society, presents ¡Murales Rebeldes!, an exhibition and companion publication exploring the way in which Chicana/o murals in the greater Los Angeles area have been whitewashed, censored, neglected, and even destroyed.

Murals became an essential form of artist response and public voice during the Chicano protests of the 1960s and 1970s. They were a means of expressing both pride and frustration, and challenging the status quo, at a time when other channels of communication were limited for the Mexican American community. Through photography, sketches, related art works, and ephemera, ¡Murales Rebeldes! tells the stories of murals—by artists Barbara Carrasco, Sergio O'Cadiz Moctezuma, Yreina Cervántez and Alma López, Roberto Chavez, Willie Herrón III, East Los Streetscapers, and Ernesto de la Loza—whose messages were almost lost forever . . . until this exhibition and publication.

¡Murales Rebeldes! examines the iconography, content, and artistic strategies of 8 Los Angeles-area Chicana/o murals that made others uncomfortable to the point of provoking a contrary response. These murals are examples of the way in which free speech has been threatened. Audiences will find many contemporary parallels or historic connections in their own communities.


A Companion 191 page full color catalog

co-published with Angel City Press is available

- Link to Summary of Catalog -

- Selected Essays From Catalog -




Original drawings, paintings, collages, and other art work framed and ready to hang or accompanied by casework; original ephemera; reproductions of murals, and scale mural details; videos; additional ephemera and photography provided in digital form for display on screen; copy of companion publication mounted for gallery use.



Portable mural by Barbara Carrasco; 20 feet x 80 feet; must be displayed indoors.

Required tech:         

Approx. 4 ipads or other computers for display of digitized ephemera and photos; 3-4 video monitors for display of video components.  


Approx. 250 linear feet; approx. 2000 square feet (exhibition can be resized)


Title/intro; 7 section texts for mural stories; tombstones; extended labels; credits

Participation fee:   

Upon request

Shipping & Insurance

Exhibitor responsible


Companion 191 page full color catalog co-published with Angel City Press invites visitors to delve more deeply into the exhibition’s content; retail price $35.


January 2020 onward

Tour Management:                  


Tel: 310 397 3098

Email info@a-r-t.com


¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, which took place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than seventy cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.


The Artists

Barbara Carrasco,

Sergio O'Cadiz Moctezuma

Yreina Cervántez and Alma López

Roberto Chavez

Willie Herrón III

East Los Streetscapers

Ernesto de la Loza


L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective

1981; censored 1981

16 x 80 feet

Intended site:

330 South Broadway, Los Angeles

Barbara Carrasco’s 1981 mural contains 51 scenes depicting the history of Los Angeles, with an emphasis on the experiences of marginalized groups. These vignettes range from the city’s original native inhabitants and the railroad’s impact on the city’s growth to the whitewashing of David Alfaro Siqueiros’s mural América Tropical and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The agency that commissioned the mural objected to Carrasco’s frank telling of history from a Chicana perspective and censored the piece.  

The 43 wood and Masonite panels that make up Barbara Carrasco’s censored mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, currently reside in a Pasadena storage facility, unseen by the public.

Barbara Carrasco at the Pasadena storage facility with panels of her mural, 2016

Courtesy of California Historical Society/LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes; photo: Oscar R. Castillo



Fountain Valley Mural

1974–1976; destroyed 2001

6 x 625 feet

Calle Zaragoza, Colonia Juarez,

Fountain Valley

Detail, Fountain Valley Mural c. 1976 

Private collection of the O'Cadiz Family 

Early in the mural-making process, a controversy arose with the Fountain Valley Police Department over a scene depicting a young man’s arrest by police dressed in riot gear. The controversy received a significant amount of media attention, and during the dispute, someone threw a bucket of white paint at the scene. O’Cadiz chose to keep the white paint on the mural as a permanent mark of opposition and evidence of the controversy, which ultimately lead to loss of funding for the project. 


Detail, Chicana/o Youth, Fountain Valley Mural by Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma, c. 1976

Private collection of the O’Cadiz Family



La Historia de Adentro/La Historia de Afuera 

1995; whitewashed 2009 

14–24 x 105 feet 

526 Main Street, Huntington Beach 

Model posing in front of detail, La Historia de Adentro/La Historia de Afuera by Yreina D. Cervántez and Alma López, c. 1995 

Courtesy of Yreina D. Cervántez; photo: Alma López 

Yreina D. Cervántez and Alma López’s mural La Historia de Andentro/La Historia de Afuera (The History from Within/The History from Without) focused on the contributions of the minority communities of Huntington Beach to its history. Painted on the parking lot wall of the Huntington Beach Art Center, it drew from the life stories of residents, some of whom served as models. The artists’ distinct perspective on local history was erased in 2009, when the mural was whitewashed by a new building owner. 


Detail, The Path to Knowledge and the False University by Roberto Chavez, 1974 

Photograph copyright © 1974 by Oscar R. Castillo 


The Path to Knowledge and the False University 

1974–1975; whitewashed 1979 

30 x 200 feet 

East Los Angeles College, Monterey Park 

Roberto Chavez painted The Path to Knowledge and the False University on the façade of Rosco C. Ingalls Auditorium at East Los Angeles College with the goal of encouraging students to join the college’s new Chicana/o Studies department. But the mural’s avant-garde design, incorporating surrealist, cartoonish, and symbolic forms in varying scales, and its challenging social messages, led to its whitewashing by the college administration.  


Detail, The Path to Knowledge and the False University, 1975

UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center

An earth mother, or water goddess, is the central motif of Chavez’s mural. “My work has not been typical of Chicano artists,” Chavez has remarked. “I don’t consider myself a Chicano artist but an artist who happens to be Chicano.”


Willie Herrón III and The Wall That Cracked Open, 1972 

Courtesy of the artists; photo copyright © 1972 Harry Gamboa, Jr.


Willie Herrón painted all through the night, with the help of neighbors holding flashlights, to complete the mural. Friend and fellow artist Harry Gamboa Jr. took this photo in the morning as Herrón was just completing the mural. Gamboa and Herrón, who were beginning to collaborate around this time, along with Gronk and Patssi Valdez, would become known as the collaborative group Asco in 1973.

The Wall That Cracked Open by Willie Herrón III, 1972

Courtesy of the artist

Figures appear to break through the wall in Willie Herrón III’s emotionally wrought mural, The Wall That Cracked Open, painted the night Herrón’s brother was stabbed in a gang-related incident in the alley behind the family bakery. Moved to paint an image that would help deter violence, Herrón promoted community dialogue by leaving space for graffiti writing by young people in his community.



(David Botello, Wayne Alaniz Healy, George Yepes)

Filling Up on Ancient Energies

1980; destroyed 1988

1,200 square feet

Corner of 4th and Soto Streets

Boyle Heights, Los Angeles

Filling Up on Ancient Energies (1980) was commissioned by Shell Oil to adorn a wall adjacent to Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights. The mural blended seamlessly into its location at a neighborhood gas station and became a recognized and well-liked part of the local landscape. It featured ferocious dinosaurs on the verge of extinction—and subsequent conversion into fossil fuels—juxtaposed with cruising scenes, as well as inspirational portrayals of Mayan deities passing down knowledge to local youth. 



Resurrection of the Green Planet 

1990–1991; deteriorating 

15 x 50 feet 

Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Breed Street, 

Boyle Heights 

Resurrection of the Green Planet’s environmental message focused on the importance of protecting three of our world’s basic elements: earth, air, and water. This detail depicts a water deity replenishing the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes. Despite restorations by the artist, the ongoing corrosion of the mural imperils its future. 


For More Information Please Contact:

Tel: 310.397.3098    E-mail      info@a-r-t.com