Apr. 8, 2022 – Dec. 1, 2023
The Mural Lead to Live depicts a tri-colored background reminiscent of the Mexican flag. On the left green section an ever-growing Austin skyline is shown with prominent construction cranes that take up as much space as each iconic building.
Under the skyline a group of mustangs gallop freely representing the animalistic nature of freedom and liberation from a city that never ceases to demand more for its growth. In the middle white portion of the flag is the main subject largely illustrated from a bold black and white photo from local public historic archives. Influential East Austin Chicano activist, a major figure in Austin politics, and a founder of the local Brown Berets; Paul Hernandez holds a megaphone with a statement taken from signs held by the youth during the police brutality and murder of José “Joe” Campos Torres marches in downtown Austin of 1977 that reads “Los muertos no hablan it is up to us”. This statement comes out of Paul’s megaphone and simultaneously is carried by becoming the statement of a protest sign held by current marginalized people like the elderly and androgynous indigenous faces. Holding a starkly lit monochromatic American flag, this group together with the sound waves and text coming out of Paul’s megaphone are breaking a large chain that comes from the background and into the bottom right corner of the foreground. Lastly on the top right corner is a contemporary interpretation of the United Farm Workers logo originally created by Cesar Chavez and his cousin Manuel. This new take is less obvious but still has a now realistic black eagle spreading its wings over and out of the bounds of a white circular shape like a worm’s eye view of an eagle flying under the sun.
This mural coincides with the current exhibition “Chicano/a Art, Movimiento y Más en Austen, Tejas 1960s to 1980s” focusing on the Chicano artists from the past and uses present local Chicano artists like Amado Castillo III and his 19 year old son Amado Castillo IV. Amado IV is part of the future generation of local Chicano artists. The mural makes a statement that the future relies on the past just as much as the past relies on the present to carry on the message and work that can never yield against never ending oppressive forces.
About the Artist
Austin, Texas born and raised, Amado Castillo III grew up on the Eastside during the late 1970’s. It was in elementary school that his curiosity and drive for creating became noticeable to his teachers and peers. In 4th grade, one of his teachers recommended him for an opportunity that would allow artistically gifted students to follow an active member of the Austin art community. His then mentor, Raul Valdez, a highly respected muralist of the moment, propelled Amado into using paints, brushes, and canvases as opposed to paper and pencil. As time passed, his skillset became stronger and his appreciation for the contemporary style solidified.
From a young age, Amado has had an innate sense of duty and discipline for family; that proved true when his father became a pastor. He began helping heavily in the church, where he explored a different artistic avenue–music. If he wasn’t painting, he was almost certainly making music. These two pastimes occupied and grounded him from getting involved in gang activity that was booming back then in the Eastside.