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A New Mural For Boyle Heights Commemorates the Past and Comments on Gentrification of Today

12:00 AM PST on November 8, 2018

[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]ast month curator LoveGalo and artist Sergio Robleto were commissioned by the owners of First Street Pool & Billiard, Marco Cordova and Lila Gallarza, to paint a mural. The creatives were inspired by the exhibit ¡Murales Rebeldes!, at LA Plaza last year.

Galo and Robleto decided on a tribute to pioneers of the mural movement from the 70s and 80s, the collective Los Dos Streetscapers from artist David Botello and Wayne Healy. Their work is seen daily in Boyle Heights. On the corner of Soto and Cesar Chavez is the mural, El Corrido de Boyle Heights (The Ballad of Boyle Heightspainted by Streetscapers.

Another a significant mural by the collective is from 1983, commissioned by Shell Union for a gas station in Boyle Heights, and was titled Filling Up on Ancient Energies. The gas station is now a car wash and the mural is no longer recognizable.

Filling Up on Ancient Energies. Photo courtesy of David Botello.

More than 30 years later, Galo and Sergio paid tribute to that mural. Both Botello and Healy are featured in the same car they painted at the Shell station. Botello is in the front seat throwing the peace sign. Healy is in the back seat throwing the Chicano fist. The car is heading west as that is where the gentrification is or appears to be happening most in Boyle Heights. The title of the mural is Orale! Let's Cruise on Over to Progression, Aye!

Galo told L.A. Taco that it is a play on Chicano speak. The Aztec god's name in the mural is Tlalogalotl, which is a portmanteau on Tlalocayotl,  the Aztec god of the East Wind. Tlalogalotl is the "modern day god of progression." Galo wanted to make a distinction between progress and gentrification, which are often tied together in their inevitability. But Robleto says gentrification is not progress.

"Some people consider gentrification to be progression" Robleto explained. "The Chicano community has always felt that progression is an ever-present facet of their culture. It's not a matter of new business, investors, or development."

Except where noted, all photos by Erwin Recinos.

'Some people consider gentrification to be progression. The Chicano community has always felt that progression is an ever-present facet of their culture.'

Galo and Sergio have been collaborating in the last few months with a mural in the Rampart District dedicated to Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez. Also across the street from Mariachi Plaza is the mural Our Lady Santa Cecilia of Mariachi Plaza.
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