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Crosscurrents

Muralist Juana Alicia on making art inspired by poetry

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Courtesy of Juana Alicia
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Juana Alicia painting her "La Llorona's Sacred Waters" mural at the corners of York and 24th Streets in San Francisco.

Muralist and activist Juana Alicia grew up in Detroit inspired by the work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In the 1970s, Juana was making posters for the United Farm Workers’ grape boycotts, when she was recruited by civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

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Credit Courtesy of the Akonadi Foundation
The Akonadi Foundation's 2019 Racial Justice Poster "Tell Her" by Juana Alicia.

He asked her to join him in Salinas, California, where she would work in the agricultural fields as an organizer. Throughout a career spanning more than 40 years, Juana was a key figure in the Chicano Arts Movement. She became one of the Bay Area’s best-known muralists with many of her iconic pieces gracing the walls of San Francisco’s Mission District. The Akonadi Foundation of Oakland recently commissioned her to create their 11th Annual Racial Justice Poster

You can catch Juana Alicia at the artist reception for the Akonadi Foundation’s 2019 Racial Justice Poster tomorrow night at the Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland. And also be sure to check out Juana’s new solo exhibition at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco thru the month of June.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.