Essay: The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Sample Essay

“The Great Wall of Los Angeles, is the longest mural after the summer of 1976 when a team of 80 youths referred by the criminal justice department, ten artists and five historians collaborated under the direction of Chicana artist Judith Francisco Baca to paint 1000 feet of California history from the days of dinosaurs to 1910 in the Tujungo Wash drainage canal in the San Fernando Valley”[1].

Judith Francisco Baca has a history of huge mural projects up her sleeve. She kept collaborating and producing wonders until 1910. Around 350 feet to this wall were added on annual basis. This addition was actually a vision of the ethnic groups existing in California. It depicted their involvement and their efforts to trounce barriers to their developments. Great Wall is a wonderful source of knowledge of the bravery of people in American history, their sufferings, their voices and how they went over to dignify their identities.

The first part was developed by Kristi Lucas, and shows the “20,000 BC when the animals whose bones were found in the La Brea Tor Pits still wandered among the plants and trees native to the area”[2]. The invasion of the Spanish explorer Portillo, who brought the initial journey from Mexico to L.A. in 1769[3], makes up Judith Baca third part of the wall. Indian campfires stand for the renowned Black Amazon Queen, Califia, whom Portillo anticipated discovering and after whom the city of California got its name. Moving on to The Gold Rush era which denotes the discovery of gold at Sutters’ Mill and the migration of Blacks, Mexicans and Indians as well as Whites by ship to California[4] makes up the remaining part of the wall. Also we see the “Iron Horse” which depicts Chinese immigration (See Image 2).


[1] Griffith, James. Hecho a Mano: The Traditional Arts of Tucson’s Mexican American Community. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2000.

[2] Huajuca Pearson, Judith. “California Chicana Collectives and the Development of a Laboratory Artistic Praxis in America.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2000

[3] Huajuca, 22

[4] Huajuca , 22

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