Saturday, July 24, 2010

A mural famous in mural circles got redone differently by the original artist.

The most space in either version is taken up by a plowed field, not yet planted. A woman is walking down the rows, toward the person looking at the painting.

She is also walking toward the things that seem closest to the viewer in the painting, guns coming up from the lower edge, pointing toward the woman.

The woman's hands are held out toward the guns and views, full palms facing. The idea seems to be that her hands will somehow stop the guns and also the hands ask the viewer to do something to stop this.

This was painted at the time when the US was supported on side of wars inside El Salvador and Nicaragua. When some people in power greatly wanted the US to go into Nicaragua directly with full power with guns, and US soldiers behind the guns.

The mural shows the guns and the woman trying to stop them, and doesn't show who is holding the guns.

It seemed, looking at the mural, like her gesture with her hands might work because it was so true and she was so determined. It seemed pretty iffy though.

Time passed. The US became less interested in going into Central America directly, partly because the people the powers that be in the US didn't like in Nicaragua lost an election.

The mural, on Mission at 21st in San Francisco, faded.

Then the artist who painted it the first time repainted it different.

Guns still in front, hands still in front of the trying to stop them But they are not her hands. We don't know whose hands are trying to stop the guns like we don't know who is holding the guns.

She is in the same spot walking on the field, but looking a big happier, dressed some different to go with the briefcase she's carrying. That is how we know it is not her hands trying to just stop the guns somehow--her hands are one carrying a briefcase and the other at her side, like the usual briefcase carrying behavior.

I figure she's there to help the people who work the fields and the people who try to stop the guns. She is doing hope in a different way.

Another recentish mural in the Mission, Folsom and Twenty-Fourth shows clear cut land, raindrops, and four indigenous folks standing there, praying, I think to heal the land. They are bringing the raindrops. And maybe a woman lawyer is working to heal that same land.