Title
Untitled (El Centro Chicano façade mural)
Artist
Malaquias Montoya (U.S.A., b. 1938)
Date
1981
Media
Acrylic on wood

Malaquias Montoya, professor emeritus of art and Chicana/o studies at the University of California-Davis, designed and painted the 52-by-4-foot mural on the façade of El Centro Chicano in 1981 with seven students who participated in his Stanford mural-painting class in the spring of 1980. Montoya was an artist-in-residence at Casa Zapata, Stern Hall, and a guest professor of the associated students at Stanford at the time.

The first Chicano mural approved for outdoor display at Stanford, the mural depicts the heritage and experiences of Chicano students, focusing thematically on the roles of educators and workers in effecting social change. Montoya included elements representing both past (the Indian and conquistador) and future (students entering the educational system and job market). However, “the focus of the mural is on the man and the woman in the middle. They are the workers who emerge after being educated. Their hands on the levers of the cogs are meant to show the system works for everyone or it doesn’t work at all,” said Montoya (M. Montoya, quoted in “New mural highlights experiences of Chicano students.” Campus Report, Oct. 7, 1981). Montoya’s son, Maceo Montoya, also an artist and professor of Chicano/a studies at UC-Davis, restored the mural in 2008.