Old Von’s Store Mural
Old Von’s Store Mural
Murals are a unique art that make it possible for artists to display their art on walls. An outstanding feature of a mural is that it is designed to complement the architectural features of the wall it is being applied, thereby, intensifying the magnificence of a building (Grund, 2002). Another unique feature of a mural is that most tell a story just like paintings. The brilliant mid-century mural situated at the corner of Chapala and Victoria is a piece of mosaic art to marvel at. The mural was created by Joseph Knowles and was unveiled in 1959. The mural portrays the history of man’s progress in Santa Barbra. It begins with the Chumash era and ends with the modern era. This history has been laid out across six panels each depicting a historical milestone in the development Santa Barbra.
The first panel represents Chumash era of Santa Barbra. The Chumash are a group of native Indians who at one time were a seafaring community who lived along the coast (Gibson, 2004). This panel has a Chumash man and woman dressed in their traditional attire. The man is shown carrying a spear on one hand and a fish on the other. The woman, on the other hand, is carrying a bag on her back probably containing grain. This panel in its simplicity reveals a lot about the culture of the Chumash. Peregrine & Ember (2001) suggest that men were hunters and anglers while the women wove basketry and mats. The spear in the hand of the Chumash man is a portrayal of the hunter and fish, on the other hand, is the testament of the fact that they were also anglers. The mural also affirms that, in the Chumash culture, it was expected of the man to go out and look for food and the woman to take charge of the preparation of meals.
The second panel is a display of the initial contact of the Chumash with the Spanish. The Spanish explorers Juan Cabrillo and Bartolome Ferello made the first contact in 1592 (Pritzker, 2000). The mural portrays two Spanish explorers and a Chumash Indian approaching to make contact. The ship that brought them floats in the background. The two Spanish explorers are probably a representation of Juan and Bartolome. This contact marked the beginning of a new civilization that would emerge despite the existence of the Chumash in this new land. The rise of this civilization is succeeded by the missionary period, followed by the settler period and finally by the modern period all depicted in the, in the mural. The contact between the Spanish and the Chumash was friendly and uneventful, but the Spanish had recognized the great significance the Santa Barbra Canal offered (Gamble, 2008). Though the Spanish started to use the Santa Barbra Canal as a stop for their journeys along the Pacific, there was barely an impressionable impact on the Chumash (Kennet, 2004).
Another significant era in the history of Santa Barbra is the settler period that came after the missionary and the rancho period. The settler period is shown in the fifth panel. The panel shows a man and woman arriving in the new land. Before them, there are cattle, which the settlers brought from the old world. The man and woman represent the massive European population that fled Europe to seek a better life. This colossal migration was due to the economic disparities brought about by the industrial period at the time (Goloboy, 2008). The European settlers saw a land of opportunity in the new world. The settlers also realized that the in the new world, they had slave labor in the Chumash community (Williams, 2003). It is believed that the settlers set in motion the existence of the modern America.
Joseph Knowles through the mural has clearly brought out the developmental stages of the Santa Barbra. However, these stages can also be used to describe the birthing process that led to the existence of the new America. The murals on Von’s walls serve as a reminder of the great milestones the American nation has achieved. The mural inspires a new generation to achieve new milestones worthy of a new panel slot in Von’s mural.
Gamble, L. H. (2008). The Chumash world at European contact: Power, trade, and feasting among complex hunter-gatherers. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gibson, K. B. (2004). The Chumash: Seafarers of the Pacific coast. Mankato, Minn: Capstone Press.
Goloboy, J. (2008). Industrial Revolution: People and Perspectives. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
Grund, C. (2003). Painting murals step by step. Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light Books.
In Ember, M., & In Peregrine, P. N. (2001). Encyclopedia of prehistory. New York [etc.: Kluwer Academic.
Kennett, D. J. (2005). The island Chumash: Behavioral ecology of a maritime society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pritzke, F. (2001). A Native American encyclopedia: History, culture, and peoples. Oxford [etc.: Oxford University Press.
Williams, J. S. (2002). The Chumash of California. New York: PowerKids Press.
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