Sin Censura: A Mural Remembers Los Angeles
Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco’s landmark mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, portrays the history of L.A. through a series of scenes woven into the hair of la Reina de los Ángeles (the Queen of Angels)—a reference to the city's original name.
Commissioned by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in 1981 for the city's bicentennial, the mural was never shown. Instead, the CRA asked Carrasco to remove 14 scenes it found controversial. The artist refused, and after a dispute over who owned the mural, Carrasco won possession and placed the mural in storage. Over the last 40 years, the mural's full length (80 feet) has only been shown three times, most recently at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where the mural will eventually be on permanent display.
L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective
From prehistoric times to the 20th century, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective shows the diverse natural and cultural heritage of Los Angeles.
This was my chance to show what I wish was in the history books.
Mexican American artist and muralist Barbara Carrasco has fought against racism, sexism, and injustice since she was a girl. She studied fine art at UCLA, where she was the first female editor of La Gente, UCLA's Chicano newpaper. After working with activists Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) for over a decade—even storing L.A. History at UFW headquarters—she obtained an M.F.A. at CalArts. Her artwork has been exhibited at major museums throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In the video below, she discusses the mural and its new home, NHM.
L.A. History: Your Perspective
What significant moments in the history of Los Angeles would you choose to illustrate? What memories of your own time in the city would you include? Use the PDF provided here, designed by Self Help Graphics & Art and Barbara Carrasco, to create your own mural, and scroll through the slideshow to see examples from other Angelenos.
Image courtesy Barbara Carrasco and Self Help Graphics & Art. © Barbara Carrasco
Ceres D. B.
Courtesy Kimberlie Taylor
Courtesy Sophia Cabalfin
Courtesy Katrina Bosler
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The acquisition of L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective was made possible by the Vera R. Campbell Foundation. Barbara Carrasco and the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County would like to thank Glenna Avila, Yreina D. Cervántez, Rod Sakai, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and the California Historical Society for their contributions to the mural and this exhibition.