The University Libraries (UL) recently announced the grand unveiling of an exquisite mural that adorns the Centennial Science and Engineering Library (CSEL) hallway on lower level 2. The mural, designed and painted by recent UNM graduate Esther Elia, is set to be revealed on Sept. 7, 2023, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

The mural project was an open call to all University of New Mexico (UNM) student artists, encouraging them to submit applications for the opportunity to design and paint a mural within the CSEL corridor. The mural committee wanted to showcase the exceptional talent that thrives within the UNM student body.

After review by the CSEL Mural Committee, the outstanding work of Esther Elia was selected. A recent graduate of UNM's Master of Fine Arts program, Elia's unique perspective led to the selection of her compelling mural.

The mural encapsulates the intersection of culture, strength, and knowledge. Drawing inspiration from her Assyrian heritage, Elia's mural features a fusion of New Mexico and Iranian culture. "Diaspora deities" – embodiments of strength and resilience – stand tall amidst a composition that includes stylized animals from both regions. Scorpions, snakes, and eagles intertwine with architectural plants, forming a vibrant narrative of growth.

Esther Elia's creative journey in crafting the mural spanned approximately a month and a half, culminating in a piece that reflects her multifaceted influences. When asked about her inspiration, Elia shared, "I see these figures as the protectors of the people and knowledge inside the library, and with the location being kind of hidden, I’m hoping it can be a sort of reward for those who have ventured deep into the library. That they have bene rewarded with the muscle to continue seeking knowledge."

To celebrate the beautiful artwork, the University Libraries invites students, faculty, staff, and the general public to join the mural unveiling event on Sept. 7, 2023, from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM at the Centennial Science and Engineering Library.

For more information about the mural unveiling event and to learn more about the University Libraries' commitment to fostering student creativity and engagement, please visit