Murals – great importance for Santa Anita

Through out the world, murals are used to convey a variety of messages and are painted for different reasons. Murals can express feelings, have a political message or tell a story in history. They are creative ways to communicate emotions, culture, thoughts, ideas and life. The art of painting murals can be a way to heal from tragedy or to express hope. In Guatemala, you can find colorful murals located all over the community of Santa Anita. What makes the murals in Santa Anita special is that the work is a collaboration of international visitors and local community members.

The first and most impressive mural was painted in 2007 on “La Casa Grande” located in the heart of Santa Anita. This house was the first home settled by the people of Santa Anita. It has since then been converted into a hostel for visitors and volunteers. The mural tells a story; illustrating some of the atrocities of the civil war and how many people fled the country as refugees. The mural portrays the story of Santa Anita and how members of the community left and then returned to Guatemala after the peace accords were signed.

Last week, community members and volunteers joined together to paint new murals on the church. Santa Anita celebrated the new year with visitors from the United States which included a group of high school students from Los Angeles and the directors of the documentary “Voice of a Mountain.” This documentary features the stories of many members in the community and explains the events that took place during the civil war. For two days everyone helped paint murals on the church. All the art was chosen by the community and the art includes various religious figures and saints. Two special figures currently on the church are the Virgin of Santa Ana and the Virgin of Guadalupe, originally from Mexico. Mexico has influenced the people here because many people from Santa Anita lived in Mexico as refugees. We welcome you to visit us in Santa Anita!


The virgin of Guadalupe on the right-hand side and the virgin of Santa Anna on the left-hand side.

“El espiritu santo
Nos da a cada uno diversos dones
Para servicio de los demas
Asi construimos
La iglesia!”

“We live to fight, We live to succeed”

Rodrigo Asturias was born in Guatemala City in 1939, the first-born son of Nobel Prize-winning author Miguel Ángel Asturias. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Guatemalan Workers Party ( PGT) guerrilla group. During this time he was arrested, tried, and jailed, after which he spent seven years in exile in Mexico. He returned to Guatemala in 1971 and helped form the Revolutionary Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA). He fought under the nom de guerre Gaspar Ilom, which he took from a character in Hombres de maíz, one of his father’s novels. When four guerrilla groups, including these two, combined to create the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) in 1982, Asturias emerged as one of the four leaders of its general command. He was the only one of the leaders not to participate in signing the peace agreement reached with the government in the early 1990s. He died in 2005.

Building bridges between the cultures. This mural was painted by a group of teenagers from Boston, USA. The bridge serves as tow different intentions. First of all some of the teenagers were involved in an accident in which the bridge collapsed and injured some of them. Secondly it connects guatemala (left-hand side) and the USA (right-hand side). “America” is covered with hands of all the teenagers who participated in the mural, coming from different countries.

A poem, written by a close friend of the community:

“Green children from the mountains

It has been almost a decade of fresh memories like the morning perfume

the laughts of the mayas are today in my nostalic eardrums

and smiles, quetzales, volcanoes, coffee plantation

stroke your day and remind me that

our town will better die with wild courage than beeing a slave!”

In memory of a young girl, who died at the age of 19.

a mural which was painted for the 10 year anniverairy of Santa Anita

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