Miles MacGregor a.k.a El Mac has painted two powerful murals in his home city of Los Angeles, produced with the support of Art Share L.A. and Meta Housing on the exterior of an affordable housing project in South Central LA, just below the DTLA Fashion District.
El Mac found inspiration for the agricultural theme when he visited the neighbouring community farm run by the All Peoples Community Center, Roots For Peace and the American Friends Service Committee. South Central Los Angeles, like many low-income urban areas, lack easy access to healthy fresh food and their diet can be limited of nutritional value, these farms are vital to give low-income families a choice.
The figure on the left was modelled by Rigoberto Jimenez Oropeza, and the figure on the right was modelled by Ron Finley. Both are Los Angeles residents and both grow their own food from the soil.
Rigo, who is n ow in his later years, used to work in the orange fields in California and became hospitalised for being exposed to the chemicals in the pesticides. Since then he has campaigned for workers’ rights activism with the United Farm Workers.
Ron, also known as “The Gangster Gardiner” is a friend of EL Mac and Retna, and has become a prominent and inspiring community leader and advocate for social justice, food justice, and urban farming.
“The choice of subjects came about partly in response to our current national (if not global) social and political climate, as well as a more local history of poverty and black-brown conflict in South Central Los Angeles. In these confusing times of demagoguery, racist scapegoating and social division, as wealth has been increasingly redistributed upward while the working poor are further disenfranchised, and organised labor has been largely weakened after decades of assault, I feel even more urgency to create conscientious and relatable public art that elevates common working people and promotes ideals of compassion, unity, equity, and interracial solidarity. I would like to think of these murals as contributing to a proud tradition of humanism and social realist art that promotes the importance and dignity of all ordinary working people.” El Mac