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April 7, 2010 > Mural celebrates diversity

Mural celebrates diversity

Submitted By Diane Daniel

Some day Luis Andrade, who goes by the name "Che," may be as famous as his idol muralists David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. At the moment he's wrapping up a bold 10 by 30 foot painting on an upstairs wall of the Cal State East Bay Library.

Linda Dobb, university library director and interim associate provost, invites everyone to celebrate the dedication of the artwork at 2 p.m. April 14 in conjunction with National Library Week.

Andrade, who received his BFA from CSUEB in traditional arts June 2009, responded last fall to the library's quest for a diversity-themed mural. By the time he started to apply paint in winter quarter, current art students Pat McCabe, Carol Faber, Kathleen Bonnar, Rene Mijares, and Leslie Becerra, plus Yulian Nu–ez, a Chabot College student, were helping in its execution.

The son of educators, Andrade thought at first he needed a political science degree to give voice to his strong personal beliefs. But, a year assisting muralist Carlos Coronado in Mexico convinced him he can be every bit as effective with art, and "Education has Voice," the library mural, is proof.

In it a young student (representing the future) is insulated by teachers, farmers, intellectuals, a missionary, and others of various ethnicities from such external forces as war, violence, fundamentalism, drugs and capitalist thieves.

Unlike many contemporary murals, Andrade treated this piece like a large painting, incorporating realistic, full figures developed through layers, rather than the very simplified - almost abstract - spray paint style made popular in East Los Angeles.

Art Professor Grace Munakata says with pride, "This mural is so Che. He questions how various institutions: governmental, religious and financial, impact individuals' lives and their ability to fulfill their dreams. Our diverse backgrounds strengthen us, but also create differences in access to education and work."

Andrade says the mural proves his goal that a message can pack a political wallop while being aesthetically pleasing.

"This is a big step to my future," says the young man, who hopes that with this creation in his portfolio, he'll get mural commissions from Hayward, Alameda County, Chabot College, and maybe even become a "Precita Eyes Muralists" in San Francisco's Mission District.

Dobb says, "We wanted something in the library that would celebrate diversity, education, the arts, and the mural tradition of the Bay Area. Che's work does all of that and more. We are proud of his work and look forward to sharing it with the community during National Library Week."

Andrade was born in Southern California; soon moved to Mexicalli, Baja, for his father's high ranking work in education, then back to the U.S. when he was 9. Inspired by an artistic mother, he has loved art all his life, taking his first formal training at age 7. So strong was his art, people sometimes assumed he had had help from an elder.

The young artist tried several mediums before settling solely on paint. These days, when not putting in 7-8 hour days on the library wall, Andrade's painting in oils at his Hayward home, or curating at the Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco, where some of his pieces are shown.

Andrade's mother, Maria Leon, has already previewed the mural. Both she and Andrade's father, Jose Luis Andrade, will be back for the dedication and reception, which is open to all.

In a spirit of good will, the University Library's National Library Week celebration, April 11 through 17, will offer amnesty on certain types of library fines. The exceptions are LINK+, ICS laptops, billing fees, processing fees, or lost/damaged materials. For information on amnesty, go to library.csueastbay.edu or call (510) 885-3612.

Mural celebrates diversity
Dedication Ceremony
Wednesday, April 14
2 p.m.
Cal State East Bay Library
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
(510) 885-3612

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