For many decades California holds the title as being the best Arcadian environment out there. Starr as well as many other authors have commented on how humans have always had “a respectful closeness to nature”(13), locating and adventuring out into some of the most beautiful places our earth encapsulates. All over California these places are evident from the beautiful redwoods to the Sacramento mountain ranges, the dream of a natural paradise is obtainable. Whether you want to go fishing, surfing, kayaking, or hiking , it is up to you to decide, for many imagining this dream is easy. As we approach the top of the hill shimmering with reflections of crisp green forest trees and wildlife roaming in all directions the quaint bungalow appears. Surrounded by open blue skies and rugged dirt trails this home is among the many hidden treasures that still exist today. The bright and airy porch containing two small white rocking chairs, perfect for a small cup of tea and a good book. As you enter the house the smell of pine and citrus fill the air bringing back memories of last summer’s adventures. Many aspects of California art and Chicano Park in particular expose the dream of a natural Arcadia. While some pieces endorse the dream others threaten the dream, and every once in a while you will find a piece that simultaneously accomplishes both.
The picturesque mural Founding of Mexico City elaborates on the positive side of
the dream of a natural paradise. Located on the ceiling of a large, white gazebo in the middle of the park the lakeside scene creates a dramatic effect differing from its surrounding atmosphere. While the dictionary provides the definition of Arcadia in its most simplest form, McClung has defined it in a more complex way. He notes that an Arcadia is “a found natural paradise” (4). In the mural, three people each of ethnic culture emerge out of the overgrown shrubbery, all of them grasping a bow and arrow. All of these details painted by Vargas, Aguirre, and Adame represent the dream of a natural paradise. While some think of the bow and arrow as being a weapon of destruction, this mural suggests that it is used to provide food and nutrients to the people. Those who live in a natural paradise live and feed off of the goods it brings, it is natural, and the way life was intended to be. In addition to the bow and arrow, all of the surrounding environments from water, to land, to sky, all suggest that the perfect Arcadian environment must consist of these three zones, the lake to go fishing, and the mountains to go hiking or hunting. In every aspect this elegant mural illustrates the experiences and adventures people all over the globe hope to experience someday.
Unlike the previous Chicano mural Founding of Mexico City that admires the dream of a natural paradise, Varrio Si Yonkes No! contradicts this view by depicting the destruction it. When we first enter the Chicano Park we are greeted by the large, T-shaped mural branded to...