Mundos de Mestizaje: The Ceiling

Mundos de Mestizaje by Frederico VigilNational Hispanic Cultural Center

Mundos de Mestizaje depicts thousands of years of Hispanic history in the broadest sense, from Europe to Mesoamerica and into the American Southwest, illustrating the complexities and diversity of the Hispanic experience.

The mural is embedded with images that explore the historical connections among arts, sciences, language, migration, and conflict along with a celebration of creative cross-pollination and cultural exchange of ideas.

Mundos de mestizaje is a fitting title as Vigil portrays a whirlwind of perspectives, words and languages, ideals and heartaches that are the shared human experience.

At first glance, the mural may appear to be a swirl of imagery, but in truth, the mural has a great deal of internal organization.

Generally, chronologically older images are at the base of the mural, and as the viewer looks upward the imagery refers to more and more recent events, ending with the ceiling and oculus which present a vision of civilization and the artist’s view – or perhaps questions – of the future.

There are three general groupings of imagery – the Iberian Peninsula, Mesoamerica/Americas and the U.S. Southwest/New Mexico.

Alongside this general organization of content, the mural also presents history as it truly is – with overlapping time periods, notable people alongside the anonymous, conflicts paired with cultural achievements, references with disputed meanings, individuals with multiple identities and tiny ants who rival rulers for the viewer’s attention.

The mural itself asks the viewer to be aware of the pitfalls of size and proportion given to any one image along with centuries-old stereotypes and deep-seeded linear learning norms.

Honest viewers are invited to reflect and ask questions, sometimes difficult or uncomfortable, about the past and shared histories.

This upper-most part of the mural represents the unforeseen future of all peoples depicted with powerful images of hope, strength, and potential for a bright, productive future based on the wealth of all cultures.

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