'Somos Pilsen,' a portrait of the resistance of the Latino community in Chicago
A mural that captures the Latino community's neighbors and people's resilience to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
The artists of Mexican origin, Pablo Serrano and Mateo Zapata had the initiative to create a 400-square foot mural, in homage to the community of Pilsen and as a tool of empowerment after the difficulties that their neighborhoods have overcome during the coronavirus crisis.
The place they've chosen to do it is 1113 W. on 18th Street, on one of the side walls of the iconic restaurant "Carnitas" in the Pilsen neighborhood. The owners of the restaurant wanted to help beautify and enhance their community by painting portraits of some essential residents and workers on a mural that would be the largest piece of Pilsen.
The Chicano community in this area of Chicago has been suffering a hard economic blow that is reflected in the local businesses, but they also continue to be victims of many prejudices and negative stereotypes around the Latino and African American community.
"We are not going to let others define us, we are going to define ourselves," Serrano said.
Zapata said in an interview with Localish that the mural shows the resilience of the Latino culture in Pilsen, as Latinos have been the most affected by the pandemic and the negative stereotypes.
In the interview, muralist Pablo Serrano reminded that the mural is connected to the ancient Mexican mural tradition, and is a mirror of the community's struggles and the resilience of its people. The mural represents the roots of the community, portraying the elders. The other icon present is the phoenix, a figure that represents rebirth after any experience.