All of the below murals were photographed by David Schwartz. View the full mural collection on the digital archive of Albright’s F. Wilbur Gingrich Library.
*More images and information below coming soon.
El Encuentro was painted in Luis Alfonso Velásquez Park, Managua by artist Leonel Cerrato in 1980. Luis Alfonso Velásquez Park was named after a young boy who was killed by the Somocista Regime when he was only 10 years old. The mural portrays the reunion of revolutionaries with their families after the victory of the Sandinista revolution in 1979, hence the title El Encuentro, which in English can be translated to The Meeting. Pictured in the mural is a poster with portraits of Augusto Sandino, Nicaraguan revolutionary leader, and Carlos Fonseca, founder of the leftist political party Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). Unfortunately, the mural was destroyed by the UNO government in 1990. There appear to be very few photographs of this mural on the internet, and the photographs found are in black and white. David Schwartz’s archive contains full-color images of this mural.
The Supreme Dream of Bolivar
Completed in 1983, The Supreme Dream of Simón Bolívar was located on la avenida Bolívar, Managua. Unfortunately, the majority of this mural was destroyed on October 25, 1990, after the Sandinistas lost the elections, and the rest of the mural was destroyed in 1991. Both artists of this mural, Víctor Canifrú and Alejandra Acuña Moya, were Chilean exiles. The mural was painted 200 years after the death of Simón Bolívar, who was a symbol of independence for many Latin American countries. There are many segments of the mural, and there are not many photographs of the mural, especially of the entire mural. One segment of the mural depicts the United States as a grim reaper, as the U.S., Spain, and Christianity were used as tools of cultural oppression in Latin American countries such as Nicaragua.
Managua Airport Terminal
This mural, which was painted in March 1980 in the suburbs of Managua and destroyed in June 1990, was signed “Brigada Muralista Felicia Santizo Panamá S.P.C. Policía Sandinista III-80.” The English translation, which may be the title of the mural, is: “Muralist Brigade Felicia Santizo Panama S.P.C. Sandinista Police III-80.” The mural depicts a multitude of militants, many of which are young boys, with a variety of weapons including stones, Molotov cocktails, guns, and slingshots. In addition, raised fists and an FSLN flag are painted in the background. Through the representation of boys, women, and men holding weapons, the mural sends a message that emphasizes not only that the spirit and intensity of the Nicaraguan revolution, but that this was a revolution for every person living in Nicaragua, regardless of age and gender. In the process of identifying this mural in David’s archive, I could not find significant information or any additional photographs of the mural on the internet.
Paisaje con la vida campesina was located on the other side of El Encuentro in Luis Alfonso Velásquez Park. The mural was painted by three different artists, including Manuel García, Hilda Vogle and Julie Aguirre in 1980 and was destroyed by the government in 1990. With bright, optimist colors, the mural reinforces hope for a better future. The mural, an example of the primitivism style, shows details of peasant life in the village, but the painted image is not the reality of people living in poverty in Nicaragua, especially during the revolution. In addition, the mural contrasts the country versus city life. The mural shows a great deal of flowers, animals, houses, children playing, and evidence of a colorful life. In addition, there FSLN flags pictured that emphasize support for the Sandinistas. A street in the mural shows demonstrations in favor of the literacy campaign. For example, three men in the mural have a poster that reads “Alfabetización es liberación,” or in English, “Literacy is freedom.” Although this colorful life is unrealistic for peasants, the mural captures the spirit of the people during a period of revolution.
The children are the garden of the revolution, which was painted in the children’s library of Luis Alfonso Velásquez, is related to the literacy movement in Nicaragua. The mural was completed in 1984 by North American artists in solidarity with Nicaraguans and was destroyed in 1992. This colorful mural has many images of children, and there are building blocks with Spanish words such as “esperanza” (hope), “amistad” (friendship), “alegría” (happiness), “justicia” (justice), “paz” (peace), “unidad” (unity), “amor” (love), “sobriedad” (sobriety), and “dignidad” (dignity). These values show the hope for a future better than the present situation of Nicaragua. The mural emphasizes diversity and a large map with the words “declaración de solidaridad internacional” (declaration of international solidarity) symbolizes a connection with the rest of the world. On one side of the mural is a woman with a weapon embracing two children and on the other side of the library. On the other side of the library is a painting of Augusto Sandino, hence the iconic sombrero, with a baby in his arms.
Homage to Women
Designed by Alejandro Canales in collaboration with other artists, Homage to Women, was located in Managua. The mural was painted during a 1980 literacy campaign when the literacy rate in Nicaragua increased from 53% to 88%. Homage to Women celebrates the success of the literacy campaign and the fundamental role women played as teachers and “brigadistas” during this process of social transformation. The murals shows the role of the new woman in a revolutionary society and how women were present in the struggle. In addition, women painted with children symbolizes fertility and the ability to read. One of the women in the mural has a book with the quote: “Las masas hicieron la revolucion,” or in English, “The masses made the revolution.”
To submit additional information on any of the above murals, please contact me.