In 1976 Aurelio Díaz began working with community members to paint the series of murals that make up the Galería del Barrio along the 16th Street railroad embankment in Pilsen. Díaz came to Chicago from Michoacán, Mexico in the early 1970s and led numerous mural projects around town in the 70s and 80s. In addition to the murals on 16th, I’ve seen his work at Casa Aztlán and St. Pius V School.
My favorite part of his Galería are the profiles he painted near the intersection of 16th and Blue Island.
The overlapping Caras/Faces display a variety of emotions reflecting a range of Mexican American identities and experiences.
Although I would love to see this mural restored, I actually really like how weathered and cracked and faded it is. In the first photo, you can see the contrast with the Sears Tower just a few miles away. The shine and privilege of the Loop reinforces the emotion and power and beauty of the mural, especially as it decays.