Have you ever driven by the outstanding Anthology of Argentine mural on 31st and Metropolitan in the Argentine neighborhood and wondered about the backstory of the artwork? Well, we’ve got the scoop!
We asked Jose Faus, noted artist and one of the major contributors to the mural, about his experience working on the project.
KCKPL: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work on the mural?
Jose Faus: My name is Jose Faus, and I am a visual artist, performer, and writer, as well as an independent mentor and teacher. I worked on this mural with my friends Alicia Gambino and Jesus Ortiz. We had just started painting together and wanted to do something to celebrate the Argentine community of KCK. We worked on it for over two hot months, working two shifts, and some days, we were at the mural from 8 in the am till about 11 at night. It was a labor of love because we were not paid much for it.
KCKPL: The plaque on the mural says the work is dedicated “To the prevailing spirit of Argentine and its people—past, present, and future.” How would you describe the spirit of Argentine? How would you describe Argentine’s future?
Jose Faus: Argentine is a community in KCK that has strong roots and connections to a town in Mexico named Tangancicuaro. I went to Tangancicuaro the year we painted this mural to do some murals down there with Jesus and Alicia. We spent a month in Mexico painting, and when we came back and started working on this project. An artist from Tangancicuao came and painted with us: Virginia Oropeza. We also had some students and residents that came out to help paint and set up. The connection between Tangancicuaro and Argentine goes back over 100 years. The railroads trying to break up a strike went to Mexico to recruit workers. A lot of men from the area and town of Tangancicuaro showed up and came here – over time, some settled and sent for their families or started families here. In the 1950s, the devastating flood of the Kansas and Missouri river altered the community, and many were displaced. Whole areas of the city disappeared due to the damage, which extended along the west bottom and took out a large portion of the Armourdale community. The city rebuilt and, over the years, has attended to a lot of issues that affect urban communities. The district keeps battling and moving forward!