Vanessa Guillen Honored with Mural on Southside

Over the Labor Day weekend, a Vanessa Guillen memorial mural on the walls of Chicho Boys Fruit Market was virtually unveiled to the community. The mural, entitled “Entre Todas Las Mujeres,” was created entirely through volunteer and community support efforts.

The project originated over the Independence Day weekend as anger and sadness over the murder of Vanessa Guillen overwhelmed much of the community. A shrine dedicated to Guillen was erected on the Southside so that San Antonians could mourn and pay their respects. Community members then moved to work together in order to create a more permanent space in
Guillen’s honor.

Community advocates and members of the Latina Leadership Institute, Stephanie Melchor and Tracy Talavera were both heavily involved in the organization of both the shrine and the mural.

“We wanted to get the shrine done and give the community the opportunity to mourn and have the space to honor Vanessa,” Talavera said.

“Once we saw so many people stop by [the shrine] and appreciate it, tweet about, post on Facebook about it, we just knew that the community needed it and wanted it,” Melchor said. “So, we said, ‘what can we do next,’ and that’s kind of how the idea of the mural
was derived.”

During the virtual unveiling, Melchor illuminated more closely the purpose of the memorial.

“Our goal for this mural is to create and maintain an ongoing conversation around gender violence about how it doesn’t just infiltrate institutions, but it also infiltrates culture as well,” Melchor said. “Vanessa Guillen was a sister, a daughter, and a friend. Honor her memory by listening and uplifting the women in your life.”

The virtual unveiling also featured the artists, Adriana Garcia, Ana Laura Hernandez, and Rudy Herrera who shed light on the process of creating the mural in dedication to Vanessa Guillen and her family.

“I humbly offer our mural, ‘Entre Todas Las Mujeres,’ made with love, sweat, tears to you la madre Gloria Guillen and to your family to let you know while you may carry an unbearable burden that you do not carry it alone,” Garcia said.

Artist, Adriana Garcia first got involved with the mural when someone from the Latina Leadership Institute approached a friend of Garcia’s. Garcia’s friend then approached her as well as Ana Laura Garcia to see if they were interested in painting the mural. For Garcia, it was an easy answer.

“It was an automatic yes,” she said.

Garcia accepted the invitation not only because of her friend, but because she felt very strongly about Vanessa Guillen and her story.

“I wanted to contribute my talents in any possible to help bring her story more to the forefront,” Garcia said.

After meeting with the group to brainstorm ideas and to figure out what they wanted to mural to convey, Garcia and Hernandez created a composition, grided the wall, and began painting. One of the elements of the mural that Garcia pointed out has to do with family and the power of the Guillen family.

“When she didn’t’ have a voice anymore, her voice carried on through her family,” Garcia said.

The mural was completed in about two and a half weeks which, according to Garcia, is fast for a mural of that size and due to the commitment of
the group.

“We were able to get it done so quickly because of everybody’s dedication,” she said.

Ultimately, Garcia hopes that the mural is a reminder to everyone about what happened to Vanessa Guillen.

“We won’t forget,” Garcia said. “We won’t forget what has happened.”

Share this: