Manuel Bracamonte, a Glendale Community College alumnus, is the artist behind the mural “Create, Awaken.” Bracamonte was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States with his parents. They made Los Angeles their home. He started his passion for art in the streets, but from there he attended Cal State Long Beach and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. His new was unveiled Sept. 19, which was also his birthday.
“My greatest memory that I had at GCC was my art classes and [of my] mentor,” said Bracamonte.
Besides the fact that it was the opening showcase for his mural it was also his birthday.
Bracamonte’s main objective was to represent every culture without making the symbolism so obvious.
He started to plan the mural around the spring of this year. By summer came the process of painting the mural. The painting emphasizes the diverse cultures that the college boasts. It also emphasizes the artist’s roots.
GCC staff members, Hoover Zariani, the manager of Multicultural & Community Engagement Center, and Nane Kakosian, a student services tech with the Center, were the organizers for the event. They explained that the both of them would regularly meet with Bracamonte for the planning of the mural.
“I’m a color person, so my favorite part of the murals is all the bright colors he used,” said Kakosian.
Not only is the mural full of bright colors, but every detail holds a meaning behind it. From the different types of gods and goddesses, to the symbols represent Glendale, the art is meant to showcase what the college stands for and the different things and characters that make it so rich. The orange groves represent Glendale in the early days and the purple flowers are a memorial for the Armenians killed in the genocide of 1915.
“I love it all, but my favorite part of the mural is the orange groves representing Glendale,” said Zariani.
In a 2010 El Vaquero article, Bracamonte, then a student, called Glendale College his “second home.” He has come a long way since, describing the color palettes used in his work and how there is a narrative to go along with it. “I feel we are the new generation of artists that will document truths and glories of our time,” he said of his art, which is deeply rooted in the history of his people.