Tucson's Public Art
Deer Dance

Title: Stop the Violence, by Raul Valdivia, Johnny Valdivia, and Gilbert Ruiz

Location: Tucson Electric Power 27th Street Substation. On the west side of 10th Avenue just north of 27th Street.

Details: A number of Hispanic and cultural murals that cover the TEP substation barrier.

She Said:

These murals are quite well designed and painted, full of detailed images that clearly convey the theme indicated by the work's title. The history of the Anglo occupation of this area has been too often steeped in violence, and widespread disregard for the cultures displaced by the white-faced strangers who wrought such havoc among the original inhabitants of the place. This mural depicts images of the various cultures, along with a plea for understanding. Art can instruct; perhaps it can also help heal.

He Said:

It's not often that a large corporation displays common sense, but this case is an exception. Here, a large substation could have been surrounded by plain white walls that would have invited graffiti, and forced repeated repaintings. Instead TEP chose to have murals painted along the walls, and they remain relatively graffiti-free.

The particular part we selected for the image shows a Yaqui deer dancer. In the background, the eagle and snake emblems represent Mexico. To me this represents the blending of cultures: neither gives up what it holds true. Instead, each gains from the other, making both more vibrant, interesting, and enduring.

Copyright © 2004 S. Halversen. All rights reserved.