UC Davis Today: Montoya's new masterpiece

  • Sketching “The Practice of Freedom”: Malaquias Montoya, left, and Jaime Montiel ’02.

  • Montiel works inside, while art studio major Jose Chavez (shadow) works on the mural’s outside portion.

  • Montoya, in his trademark hat, poses with students.

  • Students come and go as Montiel continues his work.

  • Montoya and Montiel discuss their next steps.

  • It takes patience: Montoya works on the details.

  • Tools of the trade: Montoya has a paintbrush for everything.

  • This is Montoya’s first inside-outside mural.

  • Chavez paints a maguey plant, situated under the book passage that gives the mural its title.

  • Prospective students make their way to the university.

  • Two-sided project: Chavez, Lorrie Kempf ’07 and Montoya.

  • Kempf adds the Richard Shaull quote to the open book.

  • Chavez and Kempf help finish the mural’s educational journey.

  • Sharp work: Chavez paints a thorn.

  • A richness of cultures, a richness of colors.

  • Mortarboards turn to doves of peace.

Montoya's new masterpiece

Culturally rich, inclusive, transformative, empowering — this is UC Davis. And this is what you can see in the Student Community Center’s new mural — Malaquias Montoya’s first at UC Davis, where he joined the faculty in 1989.

The mural, The Practice of Freedom, ushers people into the Student Community Center, home of the Cross Cultural Center; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center; Student Recruitment and Retention Center; Undergraduate Research Center; and Women’s Resources and Research Center.

The building opened in mid-January, but the dedication ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Friday (May 18).

The 24-foot-by-9-foot mural, completed last week, features the university experience from one supportive hand to the other: One welcomes our culturally rich and diverse student body, and the other sends our graduates into the world — “students who are determined to make a difference,” Professor Emeritus Montoya wrote in his narrative for the mural.

Student Affairs Associate Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro said the new center symbolizes the Principles of Community — and Montoya’s mural backs that up. “It represents our diversity, our respect for one another, our supportive environment,” she said.

The mural’s title comes from educator, author and missionary Richard Shaull (1919-2002): “There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes ‘the practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with the reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

Read the complete story.

For this slideshow, Gregory Urquiaga of University Communications took photos for more than a month as Montoya and his assistants created the mural.

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