Provocative mural by renown Mexican artist censored in 1932 remains in public view at Olvera Street

ByJose Mayorquin Localish logo
Monday, November 13, 2023
Provocative mural censored in 1932 remains in public view
America Tropical, a provocative mural by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, was whitewashed in 1932 but it has been preserved and remains in public view at Olvera Street.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- In 1932, David Alfaro Siqueiros, a renown Mexican muralist, was commissioned to paint a mural in Los Angeles' birthplace, Olvera Street. The mural, America Tropical, was supposed to depict a romanticized view of tropical America with lush forests and fruit bearing trees just in time for the Olympic games which were being held in Los Angeles that year.

However, the night before the mural's unveiling, Siqueiros added a crucified indigenous person to the center of the painting as an anti-imperialist statement.

"It was subsequently whitewashed," said Arturo Chavez, General Manager of El Pueblo Historical Monument which oversees Olvera Street. "In around 2012, there was a movement by the Getty along with the mayor at the time, Antonio Villaraigosa, to put this together and they wanted to preserve the mural."

The America Tropical Interpretive Center is dedicated to the life and legacy of David Alfaro Siqueiros. His mural, America Tropical, continues to have a profound influence on the Chicano Muralist Movement in Los Angeles.

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