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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Beyond the Centennial

by Carlos Tello

Acrylic on linen
Dimensions: 8' x 20'
Commissioned by Friends of the Capitol
Dedicated on May 10, 2010
Second Floor

Beyond the Centennial by Carlos Tello
Photo by Keith Ball

The Artwork

As Oklahomans reflected on our first century of statehood in 2007, members of Friends of the Capitol envisioned Oklahoma's next 100 years. Out of this inspiration they commissioned the mural, Beyond the Centennial for the half-circle alcove in the Hall of Governors. Based on the Centennial theme, "A unique history. An extraordinary future," artist Carlos Tello has rendered an insightful, yet dynamic mural that reflects upon our distinct history, contemporary culture, and limitless future.

The left section of the mural is a tribute to Oklahoma's diverse history, wildlife, and natural beauty. Our state's rich and vibrant American Indian heritage is represented by three figures in the upper left who reflect tribal continuance and traditions. The Land Run "Sooner" who bursts across the green pasture with his stake in hand echoes the pioneering spirit of our state's founders. The enduring strength of Oklahomans is illustrated by the family standing on the prairie fields left barren by the Dust Bowl. Familiar flora and fauna, including the state's mammal, the bison, the scissortail flycatcher, and the Redbud tree capture the state's continued ties to the land.

Representing Oklahoma's ongoing advancement and future, the right section symbolizes the cutting-edge industries driving our state into the 21st century such as technology, medicine, research, energy, and space exploration. Oklahomans continue to lead the way in harnessing and mastering the state's abundant resources, including the building of dams to create lakes, an engineering achievement intended to prevent another Dust Bowl, and the extraction of petroleum and natural gas. The industrious figures working on the machines testify to our credence in the state motto, "Labor Conquers All." Oklahomans' goodwill, heroism, and unconquerable spirit, defining qualities that carry us forward, are represented by the fireman in the upper right who breaks through the rubble to help victims of the Oklahoma City bombing

The mural culminates in the center with the universal "Every Man" who represents every Oklahoman. Carrying the state in his hands, he metaphorically lifts Oklahoma, represented by the state's outline and Osage shield emblem from the state flag, upward into our boundless future.

The Artist

Carlos Tello
Carlos Tello
A native of Mexico, Carlos Tello received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Communication from the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) located in Mexico City in the 1980s. He continued his studies at UAM and obtained a Certificate in Airbrush Techniques and took a course on Special Effects in Photomechanics and Lithography. A noted muralist, painter, and potter, Tello relocated to Oklahoma City in 1992 at the invitation of various organizations to paint murals and since then, has made Oklahoma City his home.

Tello has participated in many individual and group exhibitions at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, Oklahoma City; City Arts Center, Oklahoma City; Kirkpatrick Center Gallery, Oklahoma City; Firehouse Art Center, Norman; and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, among others.

In addition, Tello has worked with the Latino Community Development Center and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to present students with the foundations of studio art throughout the metro area and across the state. One of his most noted murals is located at the Latino Community Development Center in Oklahoma City.