Updated Statement on Mayahuel Mural

Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Columbus, Ohio

On Thursday, October 27, 934 Gallery sat down with the Mayahuel artists Isabel Francis Bongue, Vrinda Munoz, and Cat Ramos to listen to their concerns and to actively work with them on next steps.

Thank you to Bongue, Munoz, and Ramos, and thank you to the Columbus community for using your voices to speak out against censorship. Our combined voices were able to stand up to our landlord, Rick Mann, who has now agreed to let the Mayahuel mural stay. It is our collective goal to ensure that this never happens again to a muralist who partners with 934 Gallery.

We want to acknowledge that both privately and publicly, we should have made sure to include all artists Bongue, Munoz, and Ramos when discussing the fate of the mural and when making our initial public statement. We acknowledge that as result of this misstep, Ramos was put in the difficult position of being further tokenized. We apologize for our missteps in this process and are actively listening and learning how to be better stewards of the arts in Columbus.

There is more work to be done from here and 934 is actively working towards goals identified in the meeting. 934 Gallery will continue to work with all artists to secure a safe, protected, and celebrated venue for work to be displayed, free of censorship. We look forward to announcing these plans after we receive confirmation from Bongue, Munoz, and Ramos.


Mayahuel is a goddess of agave and of pulque, she is the elixir of gods, the magic of the Aztecs- but she is also a goddess of creation and destruction who protects and supports fertility in all its various guises, and this was why we chose to use her image. It’s appropriate that she should be naked- she is also a figure of female sexual power- yet we have been frustrated to see how much spotlight has been placed on the nudity issue (and there are plenty of precedents of similar nudity at the gallery), when we feel the real issue is the depiction of female latin rage.

Representation is not true representation if it is only allowed in a sanitized and palatable form or only represented for latin/Hispanic heritage month. The attempts to censor our mural highlighted a culture clash between conservative middle america and the feminist latin community-but that comes with the territory of true representation.

In the last two years, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia have decriminalized or fully legalized abortion, and many other Latin American countries are on their way- meanwhile, as our protections in the US disappear, our mural was a call to look to our counterparts in Latin America for inspiration and strategy- strategies that include direct action and new ways to subvert systems. The abortion rights movement in the US is very isolated, and we need to be connecting with, learning from and supporting our counterparts in the rest of the world.

Collectively, as artists working in Columbus we have experienced a deep and systemic culture of censorship and control of artwork. There is very little tangible support for artists freedom of expression- and plenty of institutions and individuals who want to either control it or use it to their benefit. The systems that one has to navigate to create visible art in this city force artists to self-censor their work- which results in there being very little space for artwork that brings up difficult conversations.

We want to acknowledge 934 Gallery’s willingness to sit in discomfort during these difficult conversations and use this situation as a learning opportunity and their platform to educate. This has not been an easy process for either the artists or the gallery, but we believe that these conversations are important and vital to have for the growth of the artistic community.

ABOUT 934 GALLERY 934 Gallery showcases over 2,700 square feet of exhibition space in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Established in June 2015, the gallery was born in the spirit of its neighbors at Milo Arts, a thriving artist residence. 934 Gallery is an entirely volunteer-operated organization.

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