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Cross-border artist Panca’s mural unveiled in Ocean Beach

Paola "Panca" Villaseñor stands in front of her mural called "Mi Tierra" outside La Doña restaurant in Ocean Beach.
Paola “Panca” Villaseñor stands in front of her mural called “Mi Tierra” outside La Doña restaurant in Ocean Beach in September.
(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The mural, titled ‘Mi Tierra,’ is on a side wall of Tijuana chef Gabriela Lopez’s Mexican restaurant, La Doña.

After moving to Tijuana for 20 years, cross-border artist Paola Villaseñor, known as “Panca,” has returned to live in her native San Diego. She says she feels focused and ready to dedicate herself to work on her art, known on both sides of the border and beyond.

Adding to the list of colorful and representative murals in San Diego produced by the Mexican American artist, she recently unveiled her latest work in Ocean Beach. The mural was inspired by the region that produces tequila, the traditional Mexican drink, and the presentation event was held to commemorate the anniversary of Mexico’s Independence Day on Sept. 16.

The mural, called “Mi Tierra” (Spanish for “My Land”), is on a sidewall of Tijuana chef Gabriela Lopez’s Mexican restaurant, La Doña, at 1852 Bacon St.

Paola "Panca" Villaseñor shows her mural "Mi Tierra" outside La Doña restaurant in Ocean Beach.
(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The painting was commissioned by Tequila Volcán de Mi Tierra, whose owners gave the artist the creative freedom to propose a piece merging their brand and other local elements. “It was like telling a story ... like making something that flows,” Villaseñor said.

In the forefront, the mural features a farmer working the agave on the slopes of a sleeping volcano that represents the Tequila volcano near Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, which was considered a sacred mountain by some pre-Hispanic cultures. Villaseñor also included the Ocean Beach Pier, the local beach and palm trees in the mural.

Paola "Panca" Villaseñor holds a draft of her mural called "Mi Tierra" outside La Doña in Ocean Beach.
(Ana Ramirez / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

After being in Tijuana for almost 20 years, “now that I see my art in the north, I feel brave enough to talk about issues that I would not have done before — injustices and all kinds of things that I feel I had to wait a little longer to be able to do,” she said.

Villaseñor recently was named one of four winners of the San Diego Art Prize for “outstanding achievements in the field of visual arts.”

Her “Mi Tierra” mural is accessible to the public via Niagara Avenue, the street that leads to the Ocean Beach Pier.


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