MISSION MURALS / by Peter Cunningham

These are murals of The Great Mexican Immigration. 

Painted on the walls of The Mission District of San Francisco, the best of them inhabit a vision of humanity not unlike the Christian-themed paintings byTitian in the churches of Venice.

And like the relatively cartoonish iconography that evolved in American churches, the second generation murals in The Mission seem to lack the depth of their first generation ancestors.

Style without soul, personal expressions of people without much personal experience outside of television and video games, without much to say. Like the art and literature of Jews who escaped Germany, the murals that are generated from direct personal experience  embody the horror of a repressive, corrupt, and violent heritageas well as sweet nostalgia for a pure rural lifestyle.  The people I met who live on 24th Street, all immigrants, were proud of these painted expressions, which function as art should to integrate dreams (including nightmares) with daily reality. The city of San Francisco was wise to encourage and preserve this expression of it's peoples' history.  [wpvideo WnW9qg2k]

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