A mural painting on a busy street in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, pointing to the second coming of Jesus, is thanks to a donated space and Adventist students who took six days to finish the work. The mural, located on Calle Diamante (or Diamante Street) in Ensenada, which is the second largest port city in Mexico, 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 Seventh-day-Adventist-operated Montemorelos University in Montemorelos, Mexico.
“The whole objective [of the work] is to reach others with the gospel,” said Pastor Edgardo Beltrán, district pastor of the nearby Ensenada 14 Adventist Church. “Our church membership is very much excited with 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 the logistics.
Priscila Rivera and Pablo Sánchez, two alumni students from 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 during the week of June 21–28, 2022.
“I was struck by the acceptance and curiosity of the people who walked by,” said Rivera. “Sometimes, I wasn’t sure of what I was doing, but then a car would pass by with an entire family who stopped just to applaud us, or persons 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, a former classmate of Rivera’s—together, they had collaborated on other murals: one at the entrance of Montemorelos University Church and another on the walls of the gym—said this particular painting flowed nicely. “It was a freestyle technique we didn’t base on anything in particular, but an inclination towards illustration.” People had a positive reaction when they saw the mural. “They stopped to ask what it was all about and to see a bit of the process, and that it was a positive message, unlike the type of urban art which 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 an interest for Seventh-day Adventists and somewhat of a mystery,” said Medina. “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, he said, but rather colors 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 with the persons who call in or reach them through the social media displayed on the painting itself, Pastor Beltrán said. The project saw the collaboration of the Baja California Conference and the North Mexican Union.
Church leaders said the mural is scheduled to be displayed for one year.