In busy port city of Ensenada, Mexico, art is giving the church visibility, leaders said.
A mural on a busy street in Ensenada, Baja California, in Mexico, is pointing to the second coming of Jesus thanks to a donated space and Adventist art graduates, who took six days to finish the work.
The mural, located on Diamante Street in Ensenada, the second largest port city in the country, depicts Jesus coming in a cloud of angels, calling out through a graveyard surrounded by arid mountains. It is the work of two art graduates from the Adventist Church-operated Montemorelos University in Montemorelos, Mexico.
“The main goal [of the work] is to reach others with the gospel,” Edgardo Beltrán, district pastor of the nearby Ensenada 14 Adventist church, said. “Our church membership is very much excited about the project.” This is the first time the church district has taken part in such a project, and they welcomed the artists and helped with logistics.
Priscila Rivera and Pablo Sánchez, two alumni of the visual arts program at Montemorelos University, traveled with their professor, Luis Medina, who coordinates the visual arts department on campus, to work on the project from June 21 to 28, 2022.
“I was struck by the acceptance and curiosity of the people who walked by,” Rivera said. “Sometimes I wasn’t sure of what I was doing, but then a car would drive by with an entire family who stopped just to applaud us, or people who shouted from a distance, telling us that it was looking nice.” It is encouraging when people have faith in your work, she added.
Sánchez is a former classmate of Rivera’s, and they have collaborated on other murals. One is located at the entrance of the Montemorelos University church and another on the walls of the gym. Sánchez said this particular painting flowed nicely. “It was a free-style technique we didn’t base on anything in particular, but an inclination towards illustration,” he said. People had a positive reaction when they saw the mural, he said. “They stopped to ask what it was all about and to see a bit of the process, and [said] that it was a positive message unlike the type of urban art people are accustomed to seeing.”
For a mural with a religious context, it surprised them that it aroused interest in people.
“The theme of the Second Coming is of interest for Seventh-day Adventists and somewhat of a mystery,” Medina said. “We rather imagine what it will be like, what is going to happen, and we try to interpret it through colors and shapes.” The mural includes not-so-traditional color influenced by the urban pop art palette, he explained. “We used a combination of the latest styles and trends.”
The Ensenada 14 Adventist church, one of six in the district, has designated a team to follow up on the people who call in or reach them through the social media information displayed on the painting itself, Beltrán said. The project was also a collaboration of the Baja California Conference and the North Mexican Union.
Church leaders said the mural is scheduled to be displayed for one year.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.