Five hundred years

1992 was the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in Hispaniola — the beginning of the Spanish conquest.  Salvadoran artist Isaias Mata marked the anniversary with a mural on two exterior walls of St. Peter’s Church  at 24th and Florida streets in San Francisco’s Mission District.

500 Años de Resistencia examines resistance to Spanish colonialism from 1492 to the present era.  The story begins on the 24th Street side of the mural, with a pre-conquest landscape.

Closer examination reveals ancestors buried beneath the soil.

To the left, advancing Spanish armies collide with indigenous Americans.

Beyond, Mayan images evoke pre-Columbian cultures and close-up portraits reveal the suffering caused by the conquest.

On the Florida Street side, portraits of religious leaders commemorate prominent individuals who stood in resistance…

while images of contemporary resistance honor the daily struggle of those who are less prominent.

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