Juana Alicia, Muralist
I am a painter and sculptor dedicated to public art, to beautifying and helping to redesign the urban environment of the East Bay. My work relates directly to World Culture in the East Bay: it is both local and international in scope, location and theme. It celebrates the diverse cultures of our area, which is representative of many parts of the world. My vision is to impact the streets and urban design of our area with paintings and sculptures that compliment and work with the architecture of this evolving environment; thematically, it addresses both natural and cultural diversity and celebrates sustainability in terms of both social and environmental justice. I expanded my media to include fresco and sculpture about ten years ago, and have created monumental environmental murals for the San Francisco International Airport and UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. My most recent public work for the East Bay community is a series of ten sculptural ceramic columns for Satellite Senior Housing on University Avenue, entitled “Huehuetlatoli: Wisdom of the Elders” and its installation is pending. The challenge of raising the necessary funding for the installation has delayed the final presentation of the work for two years, as Satellite has limited funds and a primary mission of serving low-income seniors in Berkeley. We are in the process of seeking the remaining $5,000 necessary for the installation.
I moved to Berkeley fifteen years ago, having already created a large body of public murals in San Francisco, other parts of the United States, Mexico and Nicaragua. My first public works in the East Bay were student murals, painted by youth at the East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, which I founded and co-directed for five years. I continue to direct an educational public art program at Berkeley City College, True Colors, and my students have created five public murals in Berkeley during the last three years. (I will apply with a separate submission for that organization.) The images I have included in this submission are all paintings on canvas and one drawing, created in my studio during the last year. Two of the images are of a recent mural created with my partner, Tirso Gonzalez Araiza, for La Peña Cultural Center, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, and show the international connections of Latin America’s Nueva Canción (New Song) with the hip hop movement and the musical inspirations that connect them. The other images include the pencil drawing (study for a monumental painting) entitled, “Spill/Derrame”, and the paintings, “Cool Plants, Hot Earth” and “Corazón de Melón”. I have an upcoming commission for Stanford University’s Centro Chicano on the theme of international Latino literature, which I will create here in my Berkeley studio.
My goals as an artist are to help create a beautiful, enlightening and sustainable urban environment, while educating new, diverse generations in the processes and techniques of public art and mural creation. Thank you for considering my submission.