Mexican painter who helped establish the mural movement
by Desiree Osornio
The Diego Rivera Mural “Pan American Unity” is currently on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The mural can be seen for free because Rivera wanted his art to be open to all. It’s definitely something you have to see for yourself soon before it leaves the museum in March 2024.
Will Maynez, who helped move the 22 ft high, 74 ft wide, and over 60,000 pound mural, explained to my group that it won’t be on display again anywhere for three to four years because of how delicate and strenuous it is to move.
This mural is important not only because of the message it conveys but also because it was the last mural that Diego Rivera painted in the United States of America. After being at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) for nearly fifty years, they moved the mural which consists of 10 cement panels covered in plaster to the SFMOMA where it has been since 2021. The Pan American Unity mural will be moved back to its longtime home CCSF.
Diego Rivera allowed his students to help him with the details making this piece different from the others.
Bringing attention to what was happening in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in the 1940s through his art and also calling all of them out was a bold move. There is so much happening in the mural from the dictators that can be seen to the land of the Tenochtitlan, so many connections can be made in each panel.
I had the amazing opportunity to see this mural thanks to the Spanish 370 cultural retreat class offered by Cal Poly Humboldt, where we get to see amazing murals and their cultural significance all around San Francisco.