Culture

24 Pilsen Murals That Make Chicago A Walking Latinx Museum

We all know why the City of Chicago has made itself home to one of the largest Latino populations in the U.S. Well, now meet the Pilsen neighborhood, also known as Little Mexico.

In the late ’60s, artists like Mario Castillo, Ray Patlan and Marcos Raya started to paint the neighborhood with anti-Vietnam War murals and to inspire Mexican-American residents to be proud of their heritage.

In some ways, nothing has changed and it’s as obvious as painting on the walls.

1. Women are always watching.

CREDIT: @snsoroka / Instagram

The murals you find in Pilsen have historically been a blend of art and activism. Mural art goes back to Aztec and Mayan cultures, to the 1920s Mexican government-funded PSA projects. Today in Pilsen, many murals are funded by the National Museum for Mexican Art.

2. It’s pretty incredible, verdad?

CREDIT: @sharongaiettophotography / Instagram

Sixteenth Street is a hot spot for murals. You can find them stretching for miles and spanning decades. This is Saicker’s debut mural and we’re waiting impatiently for the next.

3. And sometimes creepy…

CREDIT: @kaleidostob / Instagram

Street artist ROA painted this two part mural of an oppossum. Don’t turn the page if you want to see the truth about this lil guy.

4. He’s dead. 🙁

CREDIT: @myriamt18 / Twitter

When you view this from a certain angle, the possum is all in one piece. Some people really hate this one, claiming it’s actually a rat. Comment with your opinion!

5. The Mexicano influence is real.

CREDIT: @snsoroka / Instagram

Seriously, Pilsen is like a concrete canvas for artists aiming to keep the vibrance of Mexican culture alive, and for good reason. Keep on…

6. Gentrification is also real.

CREDIT: @murphdawg49 / Instagram

The Pilsen neighborhood has lost over 10k Mexicans in the last year alone. While the Latino population has been growing in Chicago, it’s becoming more sprawling because of new storefronts moving in and rent going up.

7. It’s important to support local artists…

CREDIT: @monstrochika / Instagram

…who support local women. Many of the faces painted here are just women from the community, who happen to be activists, dancers, singers and whose faces belong in Pilsen.

8. Mother Mary is all over the city.

CREDIT: @monstrochika / Instagram

And Angel Gabriel, and el espiritú santo. The Catholic influence is inescapable, and it’s definitely a lot prettier here than it was in most of our childhoods!

9. “Weaving Cultures”

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

Chicago artists Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi had all the intention of bringing visibility to underrepresented women in the neighborhood, including a transgender Latina.

Sam Kirk told Windy City Media Group, “”Members of the LGBT community live throughout the city, but often don’t feel comfortable being themselves in their communities. Public art has the ability to reach many people and we hope this mural will increase visibility for the women represented in our work.” We’re with you.

10. Stinkfish, 1005 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @latinactivista / Instagram

Stinkfish is a Colombian street artist who recreates photos into psychadelic themes. He was born in Mexico, but grew up in Colombia, and we only know his pen name. Rumor has it that he just takes photos of travelers and randomly chooses them. Travel wisely.

11. An incomplete Mary

CREDIT: @kevinoconnor_kevinoconnor / Instagram

These don’t happen overnight! If you visit Pilsen, you’re likely to run into a street artist working on their murals, slowly but surely. I’m waiting for the time-lapse video.

12. The art is up for your interpretation.

CREDIT: @kerlitos_way / Instagram

Caption: “Freedom of Speech is Dead…………..or Revived!”

Or is it that, we are the creations of another entity and mute ourselves to our own oppression? I mean, not *us* specifically. #FuckThePatriarchy

13. “Galeria del Barrio” by Aurelio Diaz, restored by Sam Kirk.

CREDIT: @xuxabelle / Instagram

This was the second ever mural painted by Mario Castillo, the very first muralist in Pilsen. Drawing inspo from William Walker’s 1967 “Wall of Respect,” he decided to show the fullest spectrum of diversity this wall allowed.

14. Sam Kirk’s work is everywhere.

CREDIT: @gisellafaggi / Instagram

Kirk was born and raised in the south side of Chicago, and aims to use her work to “celebrate people and to inspire pride and recognition for underrepresented communities.” She tries to keep the politics that generations before us have been fighting for alive.

15. Hebru Brantley, 1478 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @kaleidostob / Instagram

Hebru Brantley is world famous for his public works in London, Switzerland, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. But he’s born and raised in Chicago, and some of his first works are still here.

16. Then there’s the tiled mosaic art.

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

No air vent will go untouched by beauty and meaning in Pilsen. Seriously, you’ll find this kind of art on every door for a block straight.

17. What’d I say? Every. Door.

CREDIT: @glassesclasses / Instagram

This is what community is all about–educating those that come after you to navigate this world, and doing everything you can to protect them.

Read: “Shoot hoops, not guns.”

18. Brett Flannigan & Cannon Hill, 901 W. 16th Street, 2013.

CREDIT: @handmeupresale / Instagram

This due decided to combine abstract black and white depictions of the animal world in unison with bright semblances of the human world, seeming to wrap around and overcome the animal. Walk the full block to see their full work.

19. You might run into Hugo Chávez.

CREDIT: @turismoemchicago / Instagram

Venezuelan President Chávez was best known for launching a movement for better working conditions for low wage workers, especially those put at a disadvantage by the way the U.S. treats undocumented workers.

20. Murals commemorate the indigenous peoples who started them in the first place.

CREDIT: @chicagoldubs / Instagram

This mural depicts the worst horror in history: the sun setting on an entire civilization of native peoples after colonizers raped and destroyed them.

21. And the women who keep society going.

CREDIT: @chicagoismyboyfriend / Instagram

It’s really remarkable to see a community that so embraces Mexican culture, especially during a time when our country’s administration is so disdainful. #VivaLaMexicana

22. Plus, the men who started the Mexican Revolution.

CREDIT: @billycraven / Instagram

Zapata and Pancho Villa were peasants who joined Madero’s rebellion to help overthrow 30 year dictator Porfirio Díaz and bring us the Mexico we know today.

23. Pilsen honors the activists who paved the way for Latinos.

CREDIT: @arquitectos_chicago / Instagram

You can’t go too far without seeing an image of Cesar Chavez, Frida Kahlo or Che Guevara, and that’s the way we like it. Whatever’s behind that door better be incredible because my expectation is way high right now.

24. RAE, 1579 W. 16th Street, 2012.

CREDIT: @a_touch_of_b / Instagram

The message of the Pilsen community is to stay awake to war, to gentrification, and to our roots. It’s no secret that Pilsen is alive to the vibrance of Mexican art.

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This Latina On Instagram Is Using Art And Social Media To Share Her Journey of Embracing Her Vitiligo

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This Latina On Instagram Is Using Art And Social Media To Share Her Journey of Embracing Her Vitiligo

radiantbambi / Instagram

Ash Soto is a young Latina living in Florida using social media to bring acceptance and self-love to the vitiligo community. The Instagrammer has more than 166,000 followers and uses her platform to deliver art and activism one post at a time. Vitiligo is a skin condition and this Latina is reclaiming her skin one photo at a time.

Ash Soto is giving the vitiligo community some love and representation on social media.

Soto is a 24-year-old Instagrammer who is using her platform to show off her vitiligo and give the community some love and representation. The sudden social media star is catching a lot of attention after showing off her body in a way followers hadn’t seen before.

According to an interview with Self, Soto first started her Instagram page to do makeup and only showed her face. The reason was that she was uncomfortable showing people that part of herself.

Soto uses art to highlight and celebrate her vitiligo.

You might recognize Soto because of her incredible body art that is giving her vitiligo all of the self-love and acceptance. It is all part of her mission to reclaim her skin and make other people comfortable in theirs.

“I remember back when I was really young—you know when you’re in middle school, you try to fit in with the crowd,” Soto told Self. “I wasn’t fitting in. People made fun of me to the point where I would cry myself to sleep every night.”

Soto was young when she was diagnosed with vitiligo.

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Which one is your fav? 🌎🖌

A post shared by ASH SOTO (@radiantbambi) on

Vitiligo is a skin condition where a person loses the pigmentation of their skin. The cells in the skin that produce the pigmentation die or stop functioning leading to the loss of skin color over time. The disease shows up as splotches on the skin without pigmentation.

“I never realized how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker, it really helps to bring out the different colors of my skin. I was always trying to find a way to look at my skin in a positive light, [and] I couldn’t do that before starting this,” Soto told Daily Mail. Now what others would perceive as an imperfection, I have made into something more beautiful and made it more accepted than before.”

Soto has been living with her vitiligo since she was 12 years old.

A moment in her teens made her embarrassed of her body and her skin. When she was a teenager, a little girl on the beach asked her if she took a shower in bleach. According to Daily Mail, that was when Soto wanted to lock herself away from the world.

Years later, Soto is flipping the script and embracing her vitiligo in all of its glory. You can follow Soto and her vitiligo journey on Instagram at @radiantbambi.

“If you feel beautiful, that’s what matters,” Soto told Self. “No one can say anything if you feel happy with yourself.”

READ: At Just 6 Years Old, She Told Her Parents To Put An End To The Birthmark Removal Treatments She Was Going Through

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A Recently Shared Letter From Frida Kahlo To Diego Rivera Details Her Struggle The Day Before Having Her Leg Amputated And It Will Break Your Heart

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A Recently Shared Letter From Frida Kahlo To Diego Rivera Details Her Struggle The Day Before Having Her Leg Amputated And It Will Break Your Heart

Fotosearch / Getty

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have been known for having one of the art world’s most notoriously turbulent marriages. Both artists were guilty of having multiple affairs and straying away from their marriage, breaking up and getting back together only to become one again. Yet, despite their hard times, the Mexican artists had a bond that transcended the ages and one that has stirred countless discussions about their passion and love.

In a series of love letters from Kahlo to Rivera published in The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait readers are given insight into both the anguish and longing that was woven into their marriage.

One letter, recently shared by the Instagram page @historycoolkids, shows a momentary rift in their marriage when Kahlo was preparing to have her leg amputated.

Written in 1953, the letter for Rivera was written while Kahlo was in the hospital.

It reads:

⁣”I’m writing this letter from a hospital room before I am admitted into the operating theatre. They want me to hurry, but I am determined to finish writing first, as I don’t want to leave anything unfinished. Especially now that I know what they are up to. They want to hurt my pride by cutting a leg off. When they told me it would be necessary to amputate, the news didn’t affect me the way everybody expected. No, I was already a maimed woman when I lost you, again, for the umpteenth time maybe, and still I survived.⁣

I am not afraid of pain and you know it. It is almost inherent to my being, although I confess that I suffered, and a great deal, when you cheated on me, every time you did it, not just with my sister but with so many other women. How did they let themselves be fooled by you?

Let’s not fool ourselves, Diego, I gave you everything that is humanly possible to offer and we both know that. But still, how the hell do you manage to seduce so many women when you’re such an ugly son of a bitch?

The reason why I’m writing is not to accuse you of anything more than we’ve already accused each other of in this and however many more bloody lives. It’s because I’m having a leg cut off (damned thing, it got what it wanted in the end). I told you I’ve counted myself as incomplete for a long time, but why the fuck does everybody else need to know about it too? Now my fragmentation will be obvious for everyone to see, for you to see… That’s why I’m telling you before you hear it on the grapevine. I’m writing to let you know I’m releasing you, I’m amputating you. Be happy and never seek me again. I don’t want to hear from you, I don’t want you to hear from me. If there is anything I’d enjoy before I die, it’d be not having to see your fucking horrible bastard face wandering around my garden.⁣

That is all, I can now go to be chopped up in peace.⁣

Good bye from somebody who is crazy and vehemently in love with you,⁣

Your Frida”

Despite the letter, Kahlo didn’t “amputate” Rivera out of her life completely.

In fact, in her last days, Kahlo lived with Rivera and even made a public appearance with him in a demonstration against the CIA invasion of Guatemala. After her death, Rivera stated that her loss was “the most tragic day of my life.” Three years after his death, Riva requested to have his ashes mixed with Kahlo’s (this despite the fact that he married again after her death). Instead, the Mexican government opted to inter his remains in Mexico City’s famous Rotunda of Illustrious Men.

The message from Kahlo is being celebrated by her fans on Instagram as the “best letter in history.”

Fans of Kahlo called her letter “badass” and the greatest they’d ever read. “She was such a talent and such a twisted soul,” one user wrote in the post’s comment sections.

That part where she wonders why Diego was able to be such a womanizer despite being an “ugly son of a bitch” does pretty much make her badass.

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