Mural Work in Progress in “Maya” Exhibit

Feb 28, 2022


Arrow icon back to blog
(Left to Right) Director of Cultural Resources, Kara Vetter and Sr. Director of Decolonizing Initiatives, Brandie Macdonald on a scissor lift prepping the wall for the mural.

As part of the reframing of our “Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth” exhibit, a new mural is coming to the exhibit space. Muralist and Maya community consultant Alicia María Siu has designed a mural that is driven by, and representative of, the Mayan community.


Alicia is Nawat-Pipil/Maya from her mother’s side from Siwatewakan, Santa Ana, El Salvador. She is of Cantonese decent from her father’s side, who is second generation Nicaraguan born Chinese, from Bluefield’s Nicaragua. Alicia was born in El Progreso Yoro, Honduras, Lenca homelands. Due to civil unrest and war, her mother left El Salvador to Guatemala and later on to Honduras. Alicia was raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in the 80’s and 90’s, when the country experienced and is experiencing an invasion of transnational companies, neoliberal policies, increasing corruption, militarization, social and economic injustices. Alicia and her family migrated to California in 1998. She began painting at the age of eight years old. She is inspired by her mother’s life story as an orphan child and the traditions of her Pipil/Maya ancestors. As a child she wanted to be a muralist.

She holds a B.A. in Studio Art and a Masters in Native American Studies. Her thesis focuses on the historical clarification of the 1932 Holocaust of Nahuat Pipil in El Salvador. She painted her first mural in Autonomous Zapatista Community in Chiapas in 2001 and learned the community mural process, which she implements in her practice, with Chicano Maestro and Muralist Malaquias Montoya at UC Davis. She has since left murals in the community of Cucapa El Mayor, Patwin land in Knights Landing CA, Nahuat Community of Valle de Anton in Panama, Matanzas, Cuba, in Santa Barbara, Honduras and many more. In 2006, she was part of the Zapatista Other Campaign in the Cucapa encampment and was encouraged and permitted by the Comandancia of the Zaptatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) to spread the vision of a “world where many worlds fit” through her art. Diaspora, de-conditioning from domination and decolonization, the continuation of ancestral knowledge and ceremony integrate her life and art. She currently lives in Southern California with her daughter. In this light she continues her artistic trajectory serving the seven generations before and ahead.

Click here to learn more about Alicia María Siu and view her work.

The mural’s wall was prepared by our Cultural Resources and Decolonizing Initiatives team members using biodegradable/non-toxic cleaner in alignment with our LEED certification.

Visitors are encouraged to watch this mural develop as Alicia works in the exhibit space over the weeks to come – so be sure to become a Museum of Us member for free return admission! Stay tuned for more updates about the mural as it progresses and the other exciting changes to this exhibit to come.

Click here to learn more about the decolonizing intiatives work happening in this exhibit:

Changes in the “Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth” Exhibit

The Museum of Us recognizes that it sits on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Museum extends its respect and gratitude to the Kumeyaay peoples who have lived here for millennia.

The Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

Affiliations & Memberships:San Diego Museum Council logoCharity Navigator Four Star Charity logoBalboa Park Cultural Partnership Collaborative for Arts, Science and Culture logoAmerican Alliance of Museums logoSmithsonian Affiliate logoInternational Coalition of Sites of Conscience logo
Financial support provided by:San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture logo
Museum of Us California Tower logo