There are dozens of images of the Morenita throughout the city, created by Latin artists in various styles and designs

The mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Market La Milagrosa on Eagle Rock and Kern streets in East Los Angeles is full of bouquets and candles.

As every year, on December 12, the neighbors organized to take the Virgin to the Mañanitas at 12 p.m. But throughout the day. there was a party, a dance group arrived; and in the afternoon, they celebrated a mass.

"There were also stews, champurrado and cake", said Mrs. Josefina Flores, who has lived in front of the mural for 17 years.

The Virgin has flowers all year round, not only on December 12 when it is celebrated, she added.

Josefina Flores arranges the flowers in the mural to the Virgin of Guadalupe that is in the La Milagrosa market in eastern Los Angeles. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

But the mural of La Milagrosa market is not the only one where angels congregate to honor the Virgin in Los Angeles. There are dozens of street art pieces dedicated to the Patroness of Mexico throughout the city. So the devotees not only go to the churches on December 12 to entrust themselves to the Virgin but also go to venerate her in the murals with her image.

"There are dozens of murals dedicated to her throughout Los Angeles, especially in eastern Los Angeles, the city center and the south," said Isabel Rojas-Williams, art historian, curator and mural expert.

Some devotees of the Virgin attribute miracles. Josefina said that on December 25, her children and grandchildren went to play basketball. One of them bit his tongue and did not stop bleeding.

“They brought it to the house. I had my car parked outside the mural of La Milagrosa market. I decided to take him to the hospital. When we were going to get in the car, I turned to see the Virgin, and implored her for the boy who kept bleeding. In a few seconds, he told me that the blood had stopped. For me it was a miracle, ”Josefina considered.

The mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Maravilla Housing Project, in East Los Angeles, was painted by David López in 1973. (Araceli Martínez / La Opinion).

The Virgin is an icon

The also ambassador of the arts, Isabel Rosas-Williams said that the Virgin is an icon that has crossed borders and represents us all, because it is kindness, strength and generosity.

“It means protection, help and inspiration. She is a woman who tried to save the world, ”he said.

He explained that we see many murals especially in business because the owners feel protected with the Virgin.

The artist Paul Botello painted in 1991, the mural Seeds of the Virgin at the Yash La Casa Market, located in the heart of East Los Angeles. The Virgin became the patron of the family of the merchant Balvinder Songu and his wife, who were only a few years after arriving from India.

The Semillas de la Virgen mural, by artist Paul Botello, is located on the corner of Hazard and Hammel avenues in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Isabel Rojas-Williams)

Isabel described that Seeds of the Virgin It is a 15 by 50 foot acrylic mural that was sponsored by the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the east wall of the Yash Market La Casa Market.

For many immigrants, having murals of the Virgin in their neighborhoods is a protection of the American dream. “People ask for help. This goes beyond religions. We live in moments where you need to believe, ”he observed.

The mural expert explained that the Virgin has been painted in different styles and versions. “We have murals in baroque, gothic, geometric and stylized style. There are some that are so old, that it seems fresh in which the Virgin is emerging from the caves. There are also those who have painted the Virgin as a super woman. ”

He added that most of the creators are Latino. "And there is almost no artist who does not start his career wanting to paint a mural to the Virgin."

Around the mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe, by David López, in East Los Angeles, many paper butterflies have been placed with messages for the Migration and Customs Service (ICE). (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).
A huge statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe is in the workshop of the Self Help Graphics and Art center in Boyle Heights. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion)

Guadalupano before that Catholic

The priest Martín Rodríguez of the Santa Rosa de Lima Church in Maywood, attributed the abundance of murals dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Los Angeles, to the large number of Mexicans who, like him, live here.

“The Guadalupano theme is inherent in Mexican culture. It responds to a universal need for love, respect and affection towards Mother Earth and towards Guadalupana that goes beyond a religion. Hence the phrase, before being a Catholic I am Guadalupano, ”explained the pastor who says he asked to be ordained a priest in the Shrine of the Fifth Apparition of the Virgin in the Basilica of Guadalupe, inspired by his own father who walked in procession from Guanajuato to Cerro del Tepeyac where the Morenita is, name with which the virgin is known in Mexico.

The religious observed that even the most rustic man is transformed before the image of the Virgin.

“They feel maternal love. They bow before their tender eyes. Why who does not respect the mother? ”He questioned.

Mural Jubilee 2000 of the Church of the Plaza Olvera. (Photo provided)

Therefore, some merchants do not hesitate to send an image outside or inside their businesses.

He recalled that there was even a time in Los Angeles in the 70s, where all Latinos brought the Virgin in their vehicles.

The exact number of murals dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Los Angeles is unknown, but between the 80s and 90s, the city was the capital of murals in the world with more than 3,500, Isabel revealed.

“During the ten-year moratorium against its creation, many were erased or disappeared for different reasons. Today Philadelphia has that title, but since the mural ordinance was signed in 2013 (in LA), there has been a revival. I can say that we are seriously competing with Philadelphia, ”says the art historian.


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