“I still don’t know how we achieved all this [planning and painting the murals] in such a short time, only a few months,” reflects La Lucha muralist Karin Batten. “It was a lot of work but very satisfying, celebrated by a great opening with music, speeches, poetry, food, and dancing.”
The “dedication fiesta” organized by Artmakers and CHARAS took place on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, September 14, 1985. Emceed by Chino Garcia and Bimbo Rivas, it was attended by hundreds of people from both the political art world and the neighborhood, amid many expressions of community unity and a renewed sense of purpose.
The celebration’s buoyant mood and good will was beautifully captured by John Hunt in his half-hour video documentary La Lucha Continua The Struggle Continues.
“Over the weeks as we worked, we developed a camaraderie and exchanged ideas and reflections of each other’s work and our artistic processes,” recalls Susan Ackoff Ortega. “Creating work dedicated to people’s struggles in the U.S. and around the world was an energizing experience, both for me and, I’m sure, all the artists who took part in this historic project.”
Joining the artists, poets, musicians, and singers—and validating the topicality of the South African and Central American murals—were Neo Mnumzana, the representative of the African National Congress to the United Nations, and Roberto Vargas, cultural attaché of the Nicaraguan embassy.