Friday, November 3, 2023, 4:56 a.m
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES, CA – In 1932, David Alfaro Siqueiros, a well-known Mexican muralist, was commissioned to paint a mural on Olvera Street, the birthplace of Los Angeles. The “America Tropical” mural was intended to depict a romanticized view of tropical America with lush forests and fruit trees in time for the Olympics, which were 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 later whitewashed,” said Antonio Chavez, general manager of the El Pueblo Historical Monument, which oversees Olvera Street. “Around 2012, there was an initiative by Getty and then-Mayor 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. The messages he conveyed through his provocative art have touched people around the world.