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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Pan American Unity by Diego Rivera is a 1940 piece of work that was done locally in San Francisco. The mural was done so that it would fit into the walls of the Pflueger Library after the closure of the GGIE. On completion, the murals were to be installed in the south wall of the library.

However, the paintings were set on a bumpy even before completion. For instance, they were reported to the board of education for having caricatures of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. On the bright side, the mural was approved in 1940 by the Art commission thereby trashing the claims of the education board. However, the piece was not accepted at the library after completion. Nonetheless, the piece was accepted by the San Francisco Arts Commission in 1941. The Pan American Unity features a total of five sections.

Each section is divided into two with the upper part being more prominent than the lower part. Also, from the piece, we can see that each section represents a civilisation that blends in well with the others. Furthermore, the mural is arranged to show how each culture ushers another. From the decoration, one can tell that the first two upper sections represent the Egyptian and the Roman civilisations respectively. At the bottom of the mural, we can also see an evolving segment of individuals who look like the Indians. Next to the Indians is a section of philosophers, writers, and politicians.

At the center of the mural the piece now moves from the superstitious world to the scientific world. The center of the pain acts as a great divide between then the two worlds. At the center, we can see individuals erect various statues that are gods from different parts of the world. Also, the center also features believers who seem hopeful and are looking up to the gods.

Further to the left of the painting, one can see a more technological world that is more optimistic and open-minded. The last section features the modern world which has engineers, doctors, and architects among others. From the painting, we can also see a knife channeled to an individual thus showing what the new age brings with it. This brings out how great the artist is at passing his message to his audience.

In a nutshell the mural transitions man from one phase to another. The mural describes how man evolved from the old age to the modern era. However, the mural is limited to 1941 when the painting was done. Also, the mural features multiple persona and characters who have made an impact on the world we know.