Toltecas en Aztlán & El Congreso de Artistas Chicanos en Aztlán
Guillermo Aranda, Salvador Barrajas, José Cervantes, Sammy Llamas, Bebe Llamas, Victor Ochoa, Ernest Paul, Arturo Roman, Guillermo Rosete, Mario Torero, Salvador Torres., 1973
……..The Quetzalcóatl mural was the first attempt at collective mural painting in Chicano Park. In the early stages of the mural, hundreds of Barrio Logan residents participated in replacing the grey of the wall with vibrant color. A core group of artists worked on the mural for one year, attempting to unify the various images.
…….. Quetzalcóatl , the mythical feathered serpent of pre-Columbian Mexico, rises up before the Coronado Bay Bridge. Behind him a stepped-pyramid, referring to the feathers of the huelga eagle, is covered with images of a Mayan profile, a Catholic rose, and the Chinese Ying/Yang symbol. The swastika, an ancient symbol of transformation and movement, is placed near the apex of the pyramid. With an understanding of ancient symbolism and contemporary shock value, El Congreso de Artistas Chicanos en Aztlán, whose acrorym is CACA, chose the swastika as their logo or placa. Subsequently, this section of the mural has been continuously vandalized.
…….. The huelga eagle rises above a series of Mexican houses, with nopal or prickly pear cactus in the foreground. Calaveras, animated skeletons, and three large faces representing the farmworker, the revolutionary, and the contemporary Chicano complete the mural.
……..Due to physical deterioration from environmental elements, the Quetzalcóatl mural (Fig. 19) was transformed, in 1987, by a lighter palette and retained the initial symbolism of the 1973 version. Quetzalcóatl observes the master plan of Chicano Park with the children’s play area, the kiosk, the handball courts, and the small pier of the waterfront park at the end of Crosby Street. As La Raza stand at the water’s edge, their shadows cast the image of the huelga eagle. The graceful curve of the Coronado Bay Bridge terminates with four architectural pylons, integrated into the composition as a reflection of their integration into Barrio Logan
……..The prominent swastika is surrounded by Mayan profiles of a prince and princess, an Aztec eagle warrior, the Catholic rose, the huelga eagle and the Ying/Yang symbol. The village scene illustrates children dancing within a schoolyard. A calavera presents the Christian cross, the source of death for thousands of native Mexicans during the period of evangelization between 1524 and 1572. Behind the calavera rises the sun, whose eye represents the ollin, a symbol for movement. The sun is one aspect of Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec tribal deity who was transformed into their most powerul god of war. The myth of his birth relates that Huitzilopochtli defended himself with a serpent of fire, the Xiahcóatl, illustrated in the mural as a vibrating lightning bolt held by the hand of the sun.