‘If These Walls Could Talk’: Mural covered up for more than a decade now on public display

‘Telon de la Paz’ mural created by world-renowned Mexican artist

If murals were made to tell a story, then one that hangs inside the Mexican Cultural Institute in Hemisfair Park has quite the saga to share.
If murals were made to tell a story, then one that hangs inside the Mexican Cultural Institute in Hemisfair Park has quite the saga to share.

SAN ANTONIO – If murals were made to tell a story, then one that hangs inside the Mexican Cultural Institute in Hemisfair Park has quite the saga to share.

Entitled “Telon de la Paz,” the floor to ceiling bronze and iron image originally was crafted more than five decades ago by renowned Mexican artist Miguel Felguerez for a theatre in Mexico City.

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Later, he had the artwork brought to San Antonio for the 1968 World’s Fair.

Afterward, Felguerez ended up donating it to the Mexican Cultural Institute in a gesture that lives up to its name.

The mural was donated to the Mexican Cultural Institute by the artist, himself. (KSAT 12 News)

Roughly translated, it means “Curtain of Peace.”

“It represents peace, peace between Mexico and San Antonio and between our nations,” said Sergio Zapata, director of the institute.

For more than a decade, that symbol of peace hanging on a wall inadvertently took a back seat, behind another wall.

The institute constructed the wall in front of it to accommodate an agricultural exhibit that it hosted in 2010, and it remained there until recently.

“It was common knowledge that it was behind this wall,” said Ruben Minutti-Zanatta, the Mexican Consul General in San Antonio. “We’re all proud of having this art in this institute and in this city.”

Minutti-Zanatta says thanks to the diligent work by staff members at the institute, the mural once again was brought to the forefront.

They worked carefully to chip away at the sheetrock, not knowing what they might find behind it.

Earlier this year, they completed the job and found out that time behind the wall practically had stood still.

“We started to uncover it and saw that it was in perfect condition. So that’s when we decided to open it up,” said Zapata. “Of course, (we had to) clean it and just repaint a little. But honestly we didn’t have to do anything. It was just amazing the way we found it.”

Hidden spotlights help to illuminate the mural. (KSAT 12 News)

Staff members also had to replace a few of the light bulbs that help the metal mural give off its luster.

Now it literally is back in the spotlight, on display for visitors to see.

The timing was just a few months late for one person to see it again.

Felguerez died last October due to complications from COVID-19.

“I think he would be very proud. He would be very satisfied,” said Minutti-Zanatta.

The Mexican Cultural Institute recently began opening its doors to the public for the first time since the pandemic started.

However, it continues to operate on a limited schedule.

For more information, contact the institute at (210) 227-0123.


About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.