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Photo essay: Christ comes to Los Angeles via mural

Camilo Vergara-3
Paint store, 1315 W. El Segundo Blvd., Tim Morgan, 2003

Christ comes to Los Angeles. He appears in Pico Union and South Los Angeles to stop gang killing. In a car wash on South Central Avenue and in a paint shop in El Segundo, his picture is meant to stop taggers from defacing a clean wall. And muralist Manuel G. Cruz told the entire story of his last days on Earth on a bodega's walls. And then there is Christ on skid row, in pencil, resigned and grim, carrying his cross.  Someone stuck chewing gum on his ear.

A few of these images show a blue-eyed savior, a nod to the old Hollywood Christ.  Once I asked a resident of South L.A. why Jesus was so often depicted with blue eyes in his neighborhood. “Cristo era un hombre bello, “ he told me.

I found L.A. long on crucifixions, short on ressurrections. A powerful risen Christ painted in 1984 by Kent Twitchell was defaced, then finally painted over. But he appears again next to the front door of the Michoacan Meat Market on Compton Avenue, sacred heart wrapped in thorns, hands wounded.

--Camilo José Vergara

Vergara's photo essay continues after the jump»

Camilo Vergara1

Car wash, South Central Avenue, 2003

Camilo Vergara-2

Michoacan Meat Market, 5137 Compton Ave., 1999

Camilo Vergara-4

Mama's Chicken, Slauson Avenue near 4th Avenue, 2000

Camilo Vergara-5

San Julian Street between 6th and 7th Streets, 2003

Camilo Vergara-6

11107 S. Vermont Ave., Kent Twtichell, 1999

Camilo Vergara-7

Alley between 51st and 52nd Streets, 2002

Camilo Vergara-8

North Fresno Street at East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Manuel G. Cruz, 2001


Photo essay: Inner-city murals of Barack Obama

Photo essay: Murals that conjure the great man, Martin Luther King Jr., and the enduring dream


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Nothing like rudimentary Mexican depictions of "Hay-soos" to creep out your day!!


"Once I asked a resident of South L.A. why Jesus was so often depicted with blue eyes in his neighborhood. “Cristo era un hombre bello, “ he told me." - Ok, I'll bite. Why do they give Jesus the Christ blue eyes and not brown? If I moved to Mexico or Spain, I would expect to have to learn to speak and, or read Spanish or Mexican Spanish. -But I don't accept that I should have to read a foreign dialect to read a newspaper owned and printed in the United States of America. Our founding papers and laws were written in English, Why are so many, so eagerly, embracing the language and customs of our southern neighbors who's countries are in so many ways failing?


I am amazed that Christ did'nt have to get permission to have his image on a mural,considering that there is a Moratorium on murals. The city is so broke it has murals in a web of Bureaucratic red tape that forces people to do want has come so natural to our species. We record on the walls our loves,life,pain,accomplishments,heroes,and the fallen. This is humanity's art,lets not turn our backs also on the new muralist: The Graffiti Writer. They are not the vandals,Corporations that ruin our environment are. BP should be jailed for Tagging the oceans.


@CyberPachuco: Maybe you're right about all those nasty huge corporations like BP, but at least their big-shot CEOs don't go around nearly killing Giants fans at Dodger Stadium....

Ed Ward II

Cristo era un hombre bello
Christ was a beautiful man

Las Vegas periodontic

The mural paintings are all beautiful. We must always remember that Christ suffered and gave his life for our salvation. If we will be motivated by this, then we must have to be good always. Let us always remember that no matter how bad we are, Christ do not leave us. He is still with us and willing to help us.



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