Statue in front of new museum to preserve memory of old mural

An iconic mural with a storied history painted on the Halpin Building on Guadalupe Street is gone but not forgotten.

Artist Hernan Gomez Chavez, 30, has dedicated his time to creating a 14-foot sculpture titled Ode to the Multi-Cultural Mural to be displayed temporarily outside the New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary even as the museum prepares to display a replica of the mural inside permanently.

The mural, Multi-Cultural , was painted by Gilberto Guzman and a group of artists more than 40 years ago. As the building was slated to be turned into the new Vladem Contemporary art museum, the mural became the center of a lawsuit that aimed to save it from being destroyed.

After months of litigation, an agreement was made in September 2021 to have a small replica of the mural created and have it permanently displayed inside the new museum’s lobby.

The museum unveiled the replica on Oct. 10 and will put it on display once construction of the New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary is completed.

Even with the replica being commissioned, Gomez Chavez said he still wanted to have something to commemorate the mural displayed outside the museum, so he decided to get help from the community to make something.

“The reason I’m doing this piece is because I want to memorialize it and kind of speak to the, like, weird nuanced history of not only the mural, but also New Mexico,” Gomez Chavez said.

The sculpture will depict La Virgen de Guadalupe , the brown-skinned mixed-