Mural Unveiling: Oscar López Rivera Mural in Chicago

Building off the success of the book When We Fight, Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World, AgitArte presents the book’s Arts & Culture Tour highlighting the artwork featured in the book, as well as new cultural projects and artistic productions of struggle and solidarity. The tour launches next week with the inauguration of a mural in Chicago dedicated to Oscar López Rivera, freedom for political prisoners and dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex.

The mural, ‘Oscar, somos la marejada de la liberación’, ‘Oscar, we are the groundswell of liberation’ is a collaboration between The Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago and AgitArte, and it is sponsored by When We Fight We Win and El Puente in Brooklyn.
The metaphor of the sea in the title to the mural refers to a letter Oscar wrote to his granddaughter while he was in prison, in which he makes reference to missing the smell of the sea and being able to feel it on his lips. He concludes by stating that he probably will have to wait years to be able to finally be in it again.

Now Oscar is free and we are making a mural to celebrate his freedom. The title is directed for Oscar, and inspired by his resilience and faith in freedom. But we also use the metaphor to answer the calling he made to us in AgitArte’s workshop in Santurce PR weeks ago, to fight for the freedom of political prisoners who are still behind bars. We, a sea of people are essential for the tidal wave of freedom to tear down the oppressive systems which exploit and colonize us.

The mural was designed by Osvaldo Budet Melendez and illustrated by José ‘Primo’ Hernández for AgitArte. The painting of the mural is being led by Osvaldo Budet with community members and artists including Jose “Primo Hernández” Estefania Rivera and Xavier Arzola.

‘Oscar, we are the groundswell of liberation’ will be inaugurated on Friday, September 1st to kick off the annual Fiesta Boricua, in the historical Paseo Boricua, heart of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago.

Join us for a press conference at 11am on 2729-2731 Division St., and shortly after, the When We Fight We Win Arts and Culture Tour kick-off. A storytelling presentation based on the mural will be performed by Puerto Rico based theater group Papel Machete.

We will also be joined by community leaders and organizers speaking to the importance of freeing political prisoners and our educational, organizing and visionary efforts to end the prison industrial complex.

Oscar will join us for the celebration of this commemoratory mural and the Festival throughout the weekend. Come celebrate with us this special moment and join us in the chant of victory and title to our book: ¡Cuando luchamos, ganamos!


WHAT: Mural unveiling & performance by AgitArte | Papel Machete

WHEN: Friday, August 25, 11am

WHERE: Outside of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center – 2739 W. Division St. • Chicago, IL 60622

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