Master Artist, Gilbert "Magu" Lujan, Passes Away

ACTA - Posted on 29 July 2011

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Master artist Gilbert “Magu” Lujan (left) and his 2008 apprentice Mario TrilloGilbert “Magu” Sanchez Luján, an instrumental artist and sculptor in the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, passed away on Sunday, July 24, 2011, after an extended battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. An original member of Los Four, a group of LA artists who helped establish a Chicano aesthetic as part of the Chicano Art Movement, his work examined Mesoamerican mythologies and histories with the intention of merging them with the more contemporary Chicano culture and influence. Magu was particularly well known in the art world for his desire to help showcase lowriders as valid home-grown art forms representing a unique sculptural appeal. Through the course of his life, he made considerable gains in changing both academic and public opinions on how to perceive the inherent artistic composition of the Chicano lowrider.

In 2008, Magu was recognized as a master artist through ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program and worked with apprentices Mario Trillo in Chicano lowrider custom automobile renovation. The product of the apprenticeship was the Limoztlan (limousine/Aztlan), a car that paid homage to their shared Mesoamerican heritage with an inclusive ethnic design that reflected ancient mythologies while building on the aesthetic expectation of the traditional lowrider. The Limoztlan, with its limo fiberglass shell, functioned as a turn-key art parade vehicle, fully street legal, to be presented at public venues, such as art receptions or car shows. 

For a full biography on his life and community contributions, please refer to his obituary, and for information on the fundraiser put in place to off-set the costs associated with his illness, please visit

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