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Mural reveal amplifies Hispanic voices

Yadira+Solis+performs+traditional+Hispanic+dance+while+mariachi+band+plays+for+Armando+Silva%E2%80%99s+mural+reveal+on+Friday%2C+Sep+15.+Mural+was+commissioned+by+Mujeres+de+Colores+to+honor+hispanic+families+and+field+workers+in+northern+colorado.+traditional+Hispanic+dance+while+mariachi+band+plays+for+Armando+Silva%E2%80%99s+mural+reveal+on+Friday%2C+Sep+15.+Mural+was+commissioned+by+Mujeres+de+Colores+to+honor+hispanic+families+and+field+workers+in+northern+colorado.%0A
Collegian | Ruby Secrest
Yadira Solis performs traditional Hispanic dance while mariachi band plays for Armando Silva’s mural reveal on Friday, Sep 15. Mural was commissioned by Mujeres de Colores to honor hispanic families and field workers in northern colorado. traditional Hispanic dance while mariachi band plays for Armando Silva’s mural reveal on Friday, Sep 15. Mural was commissioned by Mujeres de Colores to honor hispanic families and field workers in northern colorado.

Family, friends and fans of local Colorado artist Armando Silva gathered Sept. 15 as Silva officially revealed to the public his newest mural, “Para Mi Familia,” on the side of Los Tarascos, a Fort Collins Mexican restaurant.

Silva was commissioned to create this mural through Mujeres de Colores, a local charity that specializes in helping women and children of color reach their full potential through education, healthcare and community development, according to their website.

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Silva was deliberate about the timing of his mural reveal, as National Hispanic Heritage Month began Friday, Sept. 15.

“This is about continuing to amplify the voice of the Hispanic and Mexican people,” said Betty Aragon-Mitotes, president and founder of Mujeres de Colores.

Silva’s art specializes in colorful pieces on both large-scale murals as well as canvas, and this mural is no exception to those bright colors and themes. The mural was painted on the north-facing side of the Los Tarascos. Beginning on the far left side, it shows Chuck Silvano, a close friend of Aragon-Mitotes, as a young boy working in the fields to provide for his family.

“Chuck is my friend, but more importantly, he is an icon to our community,” Aragon-Mitotes said. “He’s given representation to our community for many years and has worked in the beet fields since he was 7, giving young field workers a voice. … It’s a representation of every kid that has to work those fields.”

As the mural continues, it goes to an older hand holding a human heart, followed by the image of a family of five sitting on the foothills.

“The idea was to keep (the imagery of the family) loose and just show the representation of a family in their success, in their love and in their glory,” Silva said.

The central figure is a portrait of a Hispanic woman looking east into the distance, holding a short hoe with a look of determination across her face. Though the woman herself is not a portrait of anyone specific, Silva used the eyes of his mother for his reference.

“The idea behind this woman is what holds our families together: the mama, the madre,” Silvas said. “Ninety-five percent of the work that I get to do is because a woman asks me to try something. … In the essence of what is ‘Para Mi Familia,’ it’s the tia, the abuelita, the mama that is the glue, the rock, the core of what the family is.”

Lastly, behind these images are written the words “Para Mi Familia,” meaning “for my family” in English.

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“For me, I became a father here this last year, and I’ve been asking the question of what am I doing and how am I contributing to future generations, so the theme ‘para mi familia’ has really stuck with me,” Silva said.

As people gathered to watch Silva and Aragon-Mitotes give their speeches of gratitude, Yadira Solis performed a traditional Hispanic dance accompanied by the music of the Sol De Mi Tierra mariachi band.

Solis also expressed her gratitude to the crowd. She said she was grateful to dance and represent the Museum of Memory through History Colorado.

“Everyone is showing just love and coming together,” Aragon-Mitotes said. “I love this.”

The night continued on with lots of dancing, music and reflection of what “Para Mi Familia” means for each individual. Mujeres de Colores also had a booth set up with merchandise that could be purchased to support their cause to continue to amplify the voices of women and children of color and show representation within their Hispanic community.

“When the ask is to be represented and to be seen, it is a hard ask because we are all so different and bring so much to the table,” Silvas said.

Reach Ruby Secrest  at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @CSUcollegian.

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