Client: MCAD, City of El Paso
Location: El Paso, TX, United States
Completion date: 2018
It's A Living
MCAD, City of El Paso
City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs
Jesus "Cimi' Alvarado
Kalavera Culture Shop
“Believe” by Ricardo Gonzalez, who works as It’s A Living, was completed during Chalk the Block 2018 as part of the mural walk that featured artists creating murals throughout the festival footprint. While this piece displays an ambiguity that is common in the murals he has completed, “Believe” is particularly focused on the Hugs Not Walls event held in El Paso that lets families on both sides of the U.S./Mexico Border will hug each other briefly without crossing the border boundaries.
During Chalk the Block, the largest free public arts festival in the Region, it is important to include the opportunity for the public to see the process of creating art. The mural walk is one of the most popular live art activities the festival has hosted. The Mural Walk during last year’s Chalk the Block included locally, nationally and internationally known mural artists completing six murals over the three days of the festival, which generated coverage by the UK Guardian.
As border cities, El Paso and Juarez were thrust into the national spotlight that is currently directed at border and immigration issues. The relationship between these two sister cities is a common theme of artists living and working within these communities. While “Believe” does not overtly address the current situation along the border between the United States and Mexico, it does reflect a sentiment and faith that many of the separated families feel. The Hugs not Walls event allowed families to meet in a five-foot space between the border wall and the line that divides the two countries for three minutes at a time. For many, this is the first time they have seen their loved ones in many years.
The mural walk was one of five installations at Chalk the Block 11. The Museums and Cultural Affairs Department worked with local artist Jesus “Cimi” Alvarado, Kalavera Culture Shop, to curate the mural walk. Each of the artists worked within the time constraints of the three-day festival to complete their artwork.