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Sin Censura: A Mural Remembers Los Angeles

left side of sin censura mural

Online Exhibition

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.

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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.

—Barbara Carrasco

Barbara Carrasco

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.

Blank drawing of Carrasco mural woman to use as template for your own mural

Image courtesy Barbara Carrasco and Self Help Graphics & Art. © Barbara Carrasco

Example of filled in drawing of Carrasco mural woman
ceres d. black gabrielino

Ceres D. B.

Image of coloring sheet. The head of a woman in profile, hand under chin, holding a feather. Her hair flows across the coloring sheet and creates frames for four additional hand drawn images: a person under a red umbrella at the beach, a yellow house labelled "my grandparents house," the los angeles skyline against a yellow and pink sunset, and a blue and gray castle with yellow banners.

Courtesy Kimberlie Taylor

Image of coloring sheet. The head of a woman in profile, hand under chin, holding a feather. Her hair flows across the coloring sheet and creates frames for four additional hand drawn images: a child putting a woman's hand to her forhead (in profile), the outline of a temple in white, a blue, red, and yellow flag, and an image of a covered wagon parked in front of trees with the words "San Dimas" on it.

Courtesy Sophia Cabalfin

Image of coloring sheet. The head of a woman in profile, hand under chin, holding a feather. Her hair flows across the coloring sheet and creates frames for four additional hand drawn images: plane taking off from a runway with sculptures of the letters L.A.X. in the background; a red house with a black roof; two peaches on a twig with a few green leaves; and the ocean against the sand with a red starfish and pink seashell in the middle of the sand.

Courtesy Katrina Bosler

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Image courtesy Barbara Carrasco and Self Help Graphics & Art. © Barbara Carrasco

Ceres D. B.

Courtesy Kimberlie Taylor

Courtesy Sophia Cabalfin

Courtesy Katrina Bosler

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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.