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Henna Altars Murals
Latino Mural Tradition
Murals have emerged as an important public art style in communities throughout the United States. Outdoor murals often bring beauty into decaying neighborhoods and provide a vehicle for social expression. The art form grew out of various Latino traditions, including the fresco work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera and the practice of urban graffiti tagging.

Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the 20th century, Rivera is often credited with bringing the craft of the fresco back into modern art and architecture. Frescoes (murals painted on fresh wet plaster with pigments dissolved in lime water) became his medium of choice when he discovered those of the Italian Renaissance while studying in Europe. A life-long Marxist, Rivera strongly believed that public art was a powerful form, a meaningful departure from the elite walls of galleries and museums.

While graffiti artists may not cite Rivera as an influence, their bold murals have grown into a distinctive brand of public art and shared community history. Their works often have a political message and appear in urban neighborhoods where violent death has become a part of everyday life. Unfortunately, graffiti artists who often use aerosol paint as their medium still face the stigma that their work is a defacement of public property.

Take a photo tour of a selection of murals and public art across the U.S. >

Learn more about the Latino mural tradition >
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  Slideshow of Murals  

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