Campus

UH to preserve artwork


The Chicano Mural, located in the Cougar Den, was created in 1973 by the Mexican-American Youth Organization and depicts the Chicano Movement of the 1960s.  |  Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

The Chicano Mural, located in the Cougar Den, was created in 1973 by the Mexican-American Youth Organization and depicts the Chicano Movement of the 1960s. | Emily Chambers/The Daily Cougar

A piece of history that has been serving as an overlooked backdrop for meetings in the Cougar Den will be preserved and relocated to a more prominent location in the new University Center.

Over the winter break, members of the Latino community were concerned with the fate of the nearly 40-year-old mural amidst the renovation of the UC.

“The mural is historic and symbolizes the political awakening of the Chicano community,” a petition to save the mural said. “It was completed at a pivotal point in the history of this country, and it is a testament to this history.”

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Kowalka has hired an art conservator who will preserve the artwork in the UC, including the Chicano Mural. The conservator will be in charge of adding touch-ups and cleaning the historical mural before submitting a written report to the University this month, Kowalka said.

“We’re the University of Houston. We pride ourselves on diversity with our student body,” computer engineering technology senior Mujtuba Khan said. “It would be very insensitive for the school to not give any importance to this piece of art and history,”.

The Chicano Mural is not the only artwork the University plans to preserve. The statue in the UC Arbor will be moved to the outside perimeter of the building because the new space will be interior and climate controlled.

“Just as with the mural, its move will be conducted by licensed art conservators,” Kowalka said.

As for plans for new artwork, artist Aaron Parazette is creating a proposal that the System Wide Art Acquisition Committee will review in the coming months. UC leadership, in conjunction with the UC Policy Board, is also looking at ways to have student art exhibitions.

One piece of art that is confirmed for the new building is a piece of steel from the World Trade Center that will be placed on display once the transformation is complete.

news@thedailycougar.com

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  • Quikboy

    What a terrible mural. It seems pretty anti-American, even if it is depicting (at least by the artists' depiction) what may have happened during some historical movement. We should grace UH walls by moving forwards, not backwards. Maybe it was a terrible time, but I'm sure there are way better things to depict if they care to do so.

    I don't think the University should have to pay for its preservation though. It's just a mural, and there's not a real historical significance to this piece, besides being "insensitive" to diversity or whatever. It's not exactly something I'd think most would argue is of good artistic quality. If they really care that much, they should manage to raise the funds on their own, or try to work with the university to start fresh with a new and better mural.

  • UHcoogs

    I'm hispanic and my girlfriend is too and we both agree that this mural does not look good at the Cougar Den. I pride my hispanic heritage but I don't think this anti-American mural looks good for our university when visitors come and visit our school.

    If they remove this mural I think most hispanics will not be offended. This mural is very unwelcoming, scary, and ugly.

  • KFD

    Ugly stuff. Too bad people think it is worth saving just because it has been there for awhile.

  • https://www.facebook.com/sukmyface Carlos Villegas II

    Take a stand at UH!

  • http://www.pdmgstudios.com Mario R. Gonzales

    PLEASE JOIN US AND SIGN THE PETITION TO ‘SAVE THE MURAL’.
    “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “ (The March For Humanity)
    It is surprising to many people how little we Mexican-Americans know about our own history. Most know little about who we are, where we came from, and the richness of what we bring to this country. But when we consider the stories of the people depicted in the mural, “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad ,” we begin to understand the bravery the determination required of these people, who forged a new way of life for us all.
    The history of the Mexican-American is the history of Texas and the United States of America. ” La Marcha Por La Humanidad “depicts the history and the struggles of my people from pre-Columbian times to present day America. The bold iconography and striking color of the mural tells us who we are today, it tells us who our neighbors are, and it tells us how we got to the place we are today.
    The Chicano Mural, now found in the Cougar Den of the University Center at the University of Houston, was an artistic endeavor orchestrated in 1973 by Mario R. Gonzales and Ruben A. Reyna. The artists greatly appreciated the assistance provided by many students/ members of M.A.Y.O., the Mexican-American Youth Organization in helping to raise the funds needed to execute the mural project, and in helping the artists to complete the mural project.
    The funds raised were instrumental in allowing Mario to travel to Mexico to study relevant history, visit museums, and review other historical art in Mexico. During these travels, Mario was honored to meet and had the opportunity to assist and study under Maestro David Alfaro Siqueiros, a great artist and muralista, now deceased.“ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “was the title of Maestro Siqueiros last mural. The Chicano mural is dedicated to Maestro Siqueiros.
    The Chicano mural depicts a vivid example of the history and the struggles of the people who lived here long before the United States existed. We Mexican-Americans are the descendants of these people.
    The indigenous Mexican-American was here before our Founding Fathers even immigrated to this land. It is important for indigenous Mexican-Americans to understand our complicated history. We need to distinguish our history from today’s controversial immigration question, which presents very different issues. The history of the indigenous Mexican-American contributes to and enriches the melting pot that America has become. It was always America’s destiny to become a Nation of all Nations.
    Diversity is America’s greatest asset. It was God’s Plan long before 1492. I am truly grateful that God gave me the opportunity to illustrate the history of the Mexican-American contribution to American diversity on a mural wall at the University of Houston, where it can be viewed by the most diverse audience of students, deans and professors. Thank you God!
    Please join us and sign the petition to ‘Save the Mural’ because the moving of the mural will jeopardize its integrity and will mean its destruction.
    THE MURAL WALL SHOULD NOT BE MOVED!!!
    To Sign the petition on-line go to: http://www.change.org search bar: Chicano Mural
    To view a video go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sprhB0OHxM
    To view and /or purchase copyright photographs go to: http://www.pdmgstudios.com
    Password: 37211-mural

  • Mario R. Gonzales

    PLEASE JOIN US AND SIGN THE PETITION TO ‘SAVE THE MURAL’.
    “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “ (The March For Humanity)
    It is surprising to many people how little we Mexican-Americans know about our own history. Most know little about who we are, where we came from, and the richness of what we bring to this country. But when we consider the stories of the people depicted in the mural, “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad ,” we begin to understand the bravery the determination required of these people, who forged a new way of life for us all.
    The history of the Mexican-American is the history of Texas and the United States of America. ” La Marcha Por La Humanidad “depicts the history and the struggles of my people from pre-Columbian times to present day America. The bold iconography and striking color of the mural tells us who we are today, it tells us who our neighbors are, and it tells us how we got to the place we are today.

  • Mario R. Gonzales

    The Chicano Mural, now found in the Cougar Den of the University Center at the University of Houston, was an artistic endeavor orchestrated in 1973 by Mario R. Gonzales and Ruben A. Reyna. The artists greatly appreciated the assistance provided by many students/ members of M.A.Y.O., the Mexican-American Youth Organization in helping to raise the funds needed to execute the mural project, and in helping the artists to complete the mural project.
    The funds raised were instrumental in allowing Mario to travel to Mexico to study relevant history, visit museums, and review other historical art in Mexico. During these travels, Mario was honored to meet and had the opportunity to assist and study under Maestro David Alfaro Siqueiros, a great artist and muralista, now deceased.“ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “was the title of Maestro Siqueiros last mural. The Chicano mural is dedicated to Maestro Siqueiros.

  • Mario R. Gonzales

    The Chicano mural depicts a vivid example of the history and the struggles of the people who lived here long before the United States existed. We Mexican-Americans are the descendants of these people.
    The indigenous Mexican-American was here before our Founding Fathers even immigrated to this land. It is important for indigenous Mexican-Americans to understand our complicated history. We need to distinguish our history from today’s controversial immigration question, which presents very different issues. The history of the indigenous Mexican-American contributes to and enriches the melting pot that America has become. It was always America’s destiny to become a Nation of all Nations.
    Diversity is America’s greatest asset. It was God’s Plan long before 1492. I am truly grateful that God gave me the opportunity to illustrate the history of the Mexican-American contribution to American diversity on a mural wall at the University of Houston, where it can be viewed by the most diverse audience of students, deans and professors. Thank you God!

  • Mario R. Gonzales

    Please join us and sign the petition to ‘Save the Mural’ because the moving of the mural will jeopardize its integrity and will mean its destruction.
    THE MURAL WALL SHOULD NOT BE MOVED!!!
    To Sign the petition on-line go to: http://www.change.org search bar: Chicano Mural
    To view a video go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sprhB0OHxM
    To view and /or purchase copyright photographs go to: http://www.pdmgstudios.com
    Password: 37211-mural

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