Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles

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Guelaguetza Restaurant3014 W. Olympic Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA 90006 

60' X 12' ft
aerosol and exterior paint
Graffiti / Street Art
Description / Interpretation: 

Bricia Lopez commissioned a pair of Oaxacan muralists known as "Colectivo LaPiztola" to paint the bright orange facade of La Guelaguetza – her family’s restaurant in Koreatown. “I travel to Oaxaca with my brother often, to get inspiration for the restaurant,” Lopez said. “To always keep it new, and being in touch with the people in Oaxaca, and being in touch with what’s going on in Oaxaca.  For this mural, the artists chose the image of a young boy and girl in traditional Oaxacan clothes. The girl is holding an ear of corn, while the boy holds a chicken. Rosario Martinez of LaPiztola says their hope was to capture the ideal expressed in the name Guelaguetza, a big annual festival in Oaxaca. The word also translates as “to receive and to give.”

 “Well, this one is also keeping in mind the meaning of ‘la guelaguetza’ – in the concept of sharing,” Martinez  said. ” That’s why we started from the root.  Also because a lot of Oaxacans live here and many of them have families now who don’t know Oaxaca and so we started the mural with children precisely because so many have children and they don’t know Oaxaca.  We wanted them to see what children were like over there.  But we also wanted to show how they can share, for example, the chicken and food like corn – the main staples of Oaxaca and Mexico.” The girl also has a bandana on her face, which Roberto Vega of LaPiztola says is an important symbolic element of the mural.

“It’s a symbol of resistance – like managing to resist outside influences in order to conserve our traditions and culture,” Vega said.  “And also, we deal with corn because we’ve been working on resisting the genetically modified corn that has been doing away with millions of years of local corn.  It’s getting contaminated and it’s already happened a lot in Oaxaca and so there’s a fierce struggle against genetically modified corn and that’s also reflected in the piece.  LaPiztola’s work isn’t just art, it’s political. The name itself is a play on the Spanish words “lapiz” for pencil and “pistola” for pistol.  And after the Mexican government squashed a teacher’s protest in Oaxaca in 2006 and months of protests followed, you could see more and more of their work around Oaxaca.  “There are a lot of social causes in Oaxaca, it’s big there and so we began with a social movement, applying design as a form of protest and a little more as activism,” Martinez said. - Retrieved from, "Oaxacan street artists bring Mexican muralism to Los Angeles" by Avishay Artsy | Photos © Carlos Chavez