Paradise Hills Mural
Background photo: A 1994 photo of the wall on Division and 61st, with an homage to Timothy James, "TJ" Alcantara, the victim of a gang related conflict who the community lost that year. TJ was an only son.
The early 90’s witnessed the influx of drugs and subsequent rise to gang culture in Southern California. Southeast San Diego, largely populated by Filipinos, Samoans, Guamanians, Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, was no exception to this trend. Many youth from this Asian Pacific Islander community were absorbed into the gang lifestyle. But there were others who chose to channel their energy towards creativity and self expression. The youth whose visual tendency swayed to the visual formed cliques, known as crews. Spanning nearly a decade, the brick wall at the top of 61st and Division Street served as a platform for crews to express themselves in the form of murals. Between 1989-1998, their raw talent converged on this wall, exposing the community's story with messages of resiliency and in the colorful, generational style known as graffiti art.
By 1998, these young artists were on their way to becoming the teachers, counselors, U.S. armed service members, doctors, engineers, and social workers. Many have remained connected and continue to share their story with one another. It is their interest to share their narratives with the youth and community of today's Southeast San Diego community. For almost two decades, the wall on 61st and Division remained blank. APICA is working with these artists, local group Made in Paradise Hills, and the office of Councilmember Myrtle Cole to bring public art to Paradis Hills. The artists of the 90's generation plan to paint a series of murals that share their story and the history of Asian Pacific Islanders in San Diego. The first of these will be at Bell Junior High School in the summer of 2017.
Asian Pacific Islander American Community Actions (APICA) is accepting donations of outdoor spray paint, gift cards to art supply stores, home improvement stores, or monetary contributions. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!