Pilsen, Chicago. Formerly a Lithuanian neighborhood, Pilsen has been home to many Mexican immigrants for the past 60 years. It is undoubtedly full of many of the community’s triumphs and failures and always abundant with culture. Today, this Mexican culture is expressed through food, language, religion, and last but not least art. In Pilsen, there are murals relating to Mexican immigration, historical labor, educational struggles and the never ending fight to achieve equality. Every block seems to have a mural that speaks to this in some degree. For immigrants, this is a form of communication through living, every day pictures. These images have been historically used, in other countries including Mexico, to convey messages to the general public in a way they can clearly see, understand, and (hopefully) embrace.
Art as a vehicle for communication is also seen in paintings of famous artists like Diego Rivera and Alfaro Siqueiros. Diego Rivera painted murals to express the pain and suffering Mexico experienced during the Mexican Revolution. For example, Rivera’s mural of the exploitation of Mexico by the Spanish conquistadors:
By Diego Rivera
These socially conscious artists paint to share meaningful historical events such as the revolutions, wars, worker rights, and immigration struggles. Arguably, these paintings are just as powerful or even more than the written word because they bring their messages to life.
The following pictures are pictures that I have taken walking through the neighborhood of Pilsen. All artists are unknown.
“Another Day Another Hustle”
“Family Tree: Started from the Bottom”
“The Working Man”
“A Nation of Immigrants”