Rightnowish: Intergenerational Painting with Mujer Muralista

3 min
Mujer Muralista outside of La Casita restaurant in East Oakland. (Pendarvis Harshaw)

Over on Foothill Boulevard in East Oakland, right next to Cesar Chavez park, there's a small restaurant called La Casita. On the gate to an adjacent alleyway, there's a painting that reads "Oakland Over Everything"—the creed that Mujer Muralista lives by.

And even though Mujer Muralista (the nom de plume of Laura Salazar) didn't paint that particular image, she's painted nearly every other inch of space in and around La Casita, including a new mural she was working on in the alley when I met up with her recently.

Her latest creation depicts freedom fighters, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dolores Huerta, as well as images of young folks from Oakland—former students of Mujer Muralista. At the top of the painting are words "Oakland Is Proud," an homage to the classic wall piece by Del Phresh.

Mujer Muralista admiring her work.

On a summer day that was so hot, we had to sit inside of La Casita with the lights off to trick ourselves into thinking it made the day cooler, Mujer Muralista sat in the back of the empty restaurant and discussed the origins of her name, the importance of community space, and how she uses art to take control of her changing hometown.

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To hear this conversation, click the link above.

From July 22–July 26, Mujer Muralista leads art workshops as a part of Mundos Musicales Summer Camp at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. Details here.

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