UNM begins class on "Three Peoples" mural

February 1, 2018 - Megan Holmen

This semester the University of New Mexico is offering a new class that focuses on the “Three Peoples Murals,” which were painted by Kenneth Adams in 1939 and originally funded through a grant from the Carnegie Corp.

Located in the west wing of Zimmerman Library, the four murals depict the intercultural relationship between Native, Hispanic and Anglo Americans as the artist viewed those relationships at the time, which caused criticism for decades. 

An article by art historian Carroll Botts on UNM’s Library site, outlines the repeated vandalism of the mural. 

“While the murals were well received during their early history, political changes on campus and in the nation at large changed their reception by some,” she wrote. “There has been criticism of what are interpreted as racist overtones of The Union of the ‘Three Peoples’ panel, which stylistically does place emphasis on the Anglo figure.”

Interim Associate Provost Alex Lubin, one of the professors teaching the new course, said the class arose from decades of protest surrounding the murals.

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