On Memorial Day weekend, I went down to the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago for the first time. The area takes its name from the infamous Chicago Stockyards that used to be located just a short distance to the east. The neighborhood was immortalized by Uptown Sinclair in The Jungle. Back of the Yards is still a mix of industrial and residential areas, now predominantly Mexican-American. It is also home to the enormous Swap-O-Rama flea market at 42nd and Ashland.
Between 1993-1994 Hector Duarte and Mariah de Forest created Lotería, a 425-foot mural on the side of the Swap-O-Rama building. The mural depicts game cards from lotería, a Mexican game similar to bingo. The pictures on the game cards have become Mexican cultural icons.
You might recall from an earlier post that Hector Duarte trained in David Alfaro Siqueiros’ workshop in Cuernavaca. Lotería reflects Siqueiors’ influence in its three dimensional feeling and the way the architectural features of the building are incorporated into the mural.
I’m so glad I finally made it down to Back of the Yards to see this mural on a day when the parking lot wasn’t filled with the flea market. It took my breath away. I think Duarte is becoming my favorite Chicago muralist.