Original artwork pieces created with direct input from current and former USC students were unveiled Wednesday at Tommy Trojan plaza during a celebration of Latinx culture and Latinx Heritage Month on campus.
National Latinx Heritage Month is observed each year from Sept.15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America to the U.S.
The banner project is composed of seven original pieces by Pola Lopez, a Chicana artist whose work has received numerous Best of Show awards. Lopez said her favorite piece depicted a single mother and her struggle to graduate.
Lopez who participated at the campus celebration said she hopes students will be inspired by her painting and will be proud of their identity.
“I hope students at USC get a sense of pride, and that they embrace their identity fully, that they stand strong, and they know that they are being seen and appreciated,” Lopez said.
Diana Greer and Xavier Hernandez, two of the ten students who collaborated with Lopez, shared their experience of being part of the project.
“It was amazing to be a part of the team and to be able to share my vision and everyone’s vision with Pola and LA CASA,” Greer said. “I enjoyed hearing all the students talk about the symbols that they wanted, the colors and the slogan and everything that was important to them to be displayed on the banners.”
Greer, who graduated last May and who was a student parent at USC when the art project was commanded, was painted with her daughter Ariel on her graduation day.
“I really wanted to see representation of student parents,” Greer said. “It was amazing to be a part of the project.”
The painting, which is composed of several students and their families on their graduation day, celebrates the accomplishments and joy of college graduation and the sharing of that moment with supportive family and proud parents and children.
Xavier Hernandez, a student at the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation pursuing a master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology also shared his experience contributing to the banner project.
“LA CASA opened its doors to all students to give their comments,” Hernandez said. “It was awesome to be part of [the banner project], to have a voice.”
Hernandez, who is a double Trojan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Business Engineering in 2016, shared his excitement at the event.
“I have been at USC for six years and I have never seen [anything] like this happening on campus, and it is super important,” Hernandez said. “Today is a day that we can really celebrate and be proud of, but this can happen every single day on campus.”
Besides enjoying the pieces of art displayed at Tommy Trojan Plaza, students at the Latinx Heritage Month Celebration event had the opportunity to celebrate their culture by listening to Latinx music, dancing and connecting with other members of the community.
Jasmine Wacab, a Mexican student at USC, said the event was important for everyone.
“Sometimes at USC, I feel out of touch with my culture and getting to see events like this one is like being back home,” Wacab said. “Even if you are not part of the Latinx community going to this type of event and getting to learn more about how the Latinx culture is, is very important. You are a part of our community even if it doesn’t seem like it.”