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Arts and Entertainment

The Great Wall Of Los Angeles To Expand With Murals Featuring 1960s Protests

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The Great Wall of Los Angeles. (Photo by Kent Kanouse via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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One of the longest murals in the world resides along the L.A. River in the Valley, and it's about to get even longer. Judith Baca's "Great Wall of Los Angeles" is a piece of public art she painted in the late 1970s with a massive group of teenagers, many of whom were recruited through the juvenile justice system. It paints a history of California with an emphasis on the stories of women and minorities, with the final portion of the mural showcasing Olympic athletes Wilma Rudolph and Billy Mills in the 1950s. At a press conference for the opening of Pacific Standard Time's LA/LA initiative, Baca announced she will paint new extensions of the mural, bringing its timeline up to the present day.

Baca plans to start the mural with portraits of radical protests from the 1960s, according to The Art Newspaper. She plans to depict the Olympic torch at the end of the current mural falling into a circle that "represents a generation on fire." The 1960s in California saw activism ranging from the Berkeley Protests to the Delano grape strike.

This time around, she and her team won't paint directly onto the wall. “We stopped painting in 1984 because we had a flash flood that took away one of my people and nearly killed my team,” she told Art Newspaper, so this time they'll paint in a studio and transfer the mural to its location upon completion.

It'll be awhile before the mural extension begins, so until then, head over to CSU Northridge to check out the PST exhibit on the Great Wall's initial process.