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Oil painting by Mark Vallen

Valeroso (Courageous)
Mark Vallen 2006
Oil on masonite panel 9" x 12"

Artist's statement:

"This oil painting is a portrayal of a striking worker on the picket line, banner in hand, surrounded by fellow union activists. The painting's title refers to the worker's bravery in the face of strike breakers, paid thugs, and riot police.

Valeroso belongs to a suite of three paintings I created on the theme of striking Chicano-Latino-Immigrant workers in the city of Los Angeles. The artworks were specifically inspired by the massive L.A. Janitors strike of 2000, but clearly allude to struggles taking place in other cities, states, and countries. The Los Angeles janitor's strike was organized by Justice for Janitors/SEIU Local 1877, and it heralded a new militancy and organizational capacity for the union movement in the U.S. that continues to have resonance today.

With these particular paintings I wanted to praise the efforts of Latino workers and organized labor, as an awareness of class is just as important as the exploration of cultural identity."

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