Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This cross-sectional study examines spatial and thematic patterns of murals in East Los Angeles, a barrio that has long been one of the traditional focal points for the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles, to determine how exterior wall murals mark the cultural landscape. To do this, approximately two-hundred-fifty murals were field surveyed, mapped, and photographed, with the results being subjected to content analysis. Data from secondary sources, including the neighborhood’s history and demographics, were used to contextualize the results. The results indicate that most murals are located on commercial buildings, with sub-concentrations on public-serving and residential buildings. A majority of murals in East Los Angeles convey one of three main themes: the community’s origins, its struggles, or its religious identity; these themes have changed over time in response to sociopolitical and urban contexts. By anchoring murals to the local context through the use of local elements, muralists in East Los Angeles create a specific sense of place. Although murals are an ephemeral subject, I conclude that an analysis of mural locations and themes helps to explain their aesthetic and socialization functions and demonstrates their role in the cultural landscape in East Los Angeles.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 41-70
Launched on MUSE
2017-09-09
Open Access
No
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