SPARC Hosts International Guest Artist from Scotland:
Welcome Richie Cumming
Sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, National Galleries of Scotland, the British Council, and Creative Stirling
A Message from our International Guest:
“I applied to the Cultural Exchange International programme to fund a period of study/work at SPARC as I wanted to learn about the impressive history of an organisation who have been producing public artworks in complicated social and political contexts for over 30 years.
As an artist and as Outreach Officer for the National Galleries of Scotland, I work with communities across Scotland to produce work which is of social interest and relevance, work that gives people a public platform to express their thoughts and concerns about issues that affect them. I felt SPARC could provide me with evidence and a renewed confidence and conviction of the importance of artworks presented and produced by and for communities outwith the confines of galleries and art markets. I was also interested in learning production methods utilised by the UCLA@SPARC Digital Mural Lab in order to apply them to future productions I am involved in with the Blameless collective.
I am blogging about my LA experience here and there is information, films and images of the National Galleries of Scotland’s Outreach project, The Nation//Live currently on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery here.” – Richie Cumming
This is the moment the veil dropped with 30 people pulling the cord. The Mayor, Maria Elena Durazo, students from
UCLA, Student from Miguel Contreras High School, Union members, sponsors .. everyone!:
Mayor Villaraigosa endorses the Miguel Contreras Mural:
Hola. Buenas tardes/good afternoon. I am José Ramírez-González, Jr. And, I appreciate your attendance. Especially, I treasure the
support of family, friends and professors. All have been key in my development.
It has been an honor to be part of this amazing mural collaboration.
As a child of immigrant parents in search of better opportunities, who have worked the tropical lands of the Yucatán Península of
Southern México, home of the marvelous Mayan culture, and the fields of California especially the world renowned strawberry
fields of Oxnard, it is an honor to be part of commemorating the outstanding labor leader Miguel Contreras, social justice and the
work of laborers in the development of California. They have been key in improving our livelihood. Because of their incredible
contribution to society, we are gathered in warm celebration.
During this incredible journey, we have been blessed to have had been touched by our fellow UCLA team member, Damina Green.
Sadly, she passed away recently while the mural was being finalized. Although she is not with us physically, her beautiful spirit
continues to emanate around us, especially because of her outstanding contribution to our community. Although she was battling
a brain tumor
for a very long time, she had a devotion to improving the lot of youth. Her contributions are immortalized in this piece and will
continue to be an inspiration for future generations.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest admiration to Judy Baca. Her commitment to Social Justice is unconditional! This
passion for Social Justice is inspiring and breathtaking! I thank her from the bottom of my heart for believing in us and for this
amazing opportunity to contribute to the community. During her outstanding journey, she has given countless opportunities to
generations of youths. She has created endless mutual-understanding environments in order for communities to unite. As I like
to refer to her, she is a designer of dreams.
Therefore, the opportunities to honor our family, culture, labor leaders, communities and to learn from Judy Baca have been an
amazing experience beyond our wildest expectations.
Thank you. Now, I would like for all to give a warm welcome to a fellow team member I have a high regard for, Adriana Macías.
UCLA student Andrea Macias’ Speech:
Thank you Jose. Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome you and thank all of you for coming. I am one of the UCLA students that had the
great opportunity to work with Judy Baca, SPARC, and the PULSE students here at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. I’d like
to share with you my experience in the process of this mural development.
Many people may not know all the hard work that goes into developing a concept behind community-based art. There were many
hours of research on the Labor movements and Miguel Contreras, We had several workshops, and many, many creative ideas. We
learned that Miguel Contreras was a prominent leader that fought for labor rights and social justice. We also learned that he was
working in the fields as a child with his family when he was inspired by Dolores Huerta to join the UFW because of unfair labor
contracts. This was our foundation for the mural which is depicted in the first half.
The second half of the mural is the most inspiring. In meeting with the community and speaking with the high school students we
learned of their challenges, dreams and aspirations. Through an epiphany index card workshop, we asked the students what events
in your life have made an impact and how have this events influenced your life? What we discovered was many students saw violence
and crime in their neighborhoods, many of their friends were dropping out of school and many families suffered financial hardships.
We wanted to represent these young voices. Some students realized how important an education is because they see the sacrifices their
families have made for them. Other students stated that expressing themselves through music, art and poetry was their personal
sanctuary and freedom. Some students revealed the injustices they suffered because they felt the pressure of having to fill a mold within
a social category. Through all of these obstacles, I was most inspired by the hope that these young students continue to hold on to. And
together we realized that no matter how different we may appear to be, we all have high hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow.
My first encounter with muralism was in my elementary years where I spoke in front of a news camera about the magnificent mural
that was done at my elementary school inspiring young children to “Take the Future in your Hands” as the mural was called. As I
grew older, I marveled at the Great Wall of Los Angeles. And now, 20 years later I am here speaking to all of you about muralism
and community-based art. Professor Baca, I want to thank you, everyone at SPARC and express my appreciation for the digital mural
lab. Thank you for your passion and dedication to social justice and the Arts. Thank you for teaching and inspiring me to express my
voice and my identity where mere words could not do justice.
On that note, I’d like to introduce to you an amazing young woman that is wiser beyond her years – from one generation to another,
Karina Perez Alvarado.
UCLA student Karina Perez’s Speech:
Hello thank you all so much for being here sharing this special moment with us. My name is Karina and I am a graduate from Miguel
Contreras currently a student at UCLA. When I first met Judy I said “Judy, I want to be a social Justice artist” little did I know that a
few months later I would receive my acceptance letter from UCLA and get myself enrolled in Judy Baca’s class. Producing this mural
along with Miguel Contreras Pulse club, an art and revolution here club on this campus, and other UCLA students not only expanded
my mind but also allowed me to establish strong relationships with my classmates. We spent so much time together that it’s like we
had a whole new family at the lab. Unfortunately, one of members has now passed. Damina. I remember the first time I talked to
Damina was when she gave me a ride home. I was confused on how to pronounce her name and too shy to ask her so I decided to
nickname her Dee. Unfortunately Dee is no longer physically with us but she remains in our hearts joyous and lively as she was.
Together we worked on this great piece that lives before your eyes. My focus was on the tattoos on the buildings. These tattoos
depict the various realities that we face as a community. One of these realities is that our parents are working two or three shifts
to make ends meet. Our parents left behind who they wanted to be so that today we could be what we dream of becoming. Youth that
are here I tell you, don’t let people tell you you cant become what you dream of. I tell you, I am undocumented womyn of color at the
UCLA and I did it. Now I want you to show me that you can accomplish your dreams too. Show me how its done! Claro que si se puede.
Vamos a hecharle ganas! Thank you!
Video of the Installation:
The restoration of the Great Wall of los Angeles is a massive undertaking. Every segment of the 2,750ft is cleaned, examined and treated to bring it back to its original state of brilliant color. Within the three month dry season in the Los Angeles River the work must be completed racing against a clock that is determined by the difficult conditions of heat, water flow, rain and other factors of the unique site in the los Angeles flood control channel. The site channels the main water flow through the San Fernando Valley to the ocean and becomes extremely perilous in a rain storm so weather watches and evacuation methods are a constant worry for the 30 members of the restoration team composed of professional muralist, interns from universities around the country, local volunteers and past participants of the Great Wall productions over its 35years of existence.
Judy Baca spoke at Sothebys on April 16 at the art panel discussion among art professionals and art institutions who facilitate and participate in artists’ projects that transcend traditional studio practice and often include performance art, public art and art in public spaces, political activism and engagement with the major social and environmental issues of our time. This panel, was moderated by Barbara T. Hoffman, Esq., The Hoffman Law Firm. Other panelists were: Holly Block, Director, Bronx Museum of the Arts; Anne Pasternak, Director, Creative Time; and Martha Wilson, founder of Franklin Furnace.
Murals designed by Professor Judy Baca
Coordinated by the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab
Tiny Ripples of Hope (Final Version)
On June 5th, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was shot and assassinated in the food-service pantry next to the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel after having won the California Primary. The Ambassador Hotel, located on Wilshire Boulevard at mid-city, is being converted into the new LAUSD RFK Community of Schools for K-12. The school’s library, formerly the ballroom, will be the sight of Professor Judy Baca’s latest work: a two-mural memorial to RFK, a Senator who was revered as a leader of the ideals of hope and compassion and an advocate for the equality of all people. The murals were completed in September 2010.
In the mural Seeing Through Others Eyes, a lotus blossom determines the composition of the mural both formally and conceptually. Each petal represents one of the issues facing society that Robert F. Kennedy deemed most important: Environment, Intolerance, Poverty, Education, Health, and War. We see these things through different eyes; the eyes of a soldier, a woman and her ailing mother, a poverty stricken child. At the center of the blossom sit two enlightened men: Kennedy breaking bread with César Chávez after Chávez’s 36-Day Fast for Life. Juan Romero, the busboy who cradled Kennedy after he was shot, is depicted to the left of Kennedy. While one million people march in the background lead by Dolores Huerta, a legendary figure in the labor movement in this country. She co-founded the United Farmworkers of America, which plays a major role in organizing opposition to proposed immigration reform legislation.
This Interactive Digital Mural will be seen as one whole and each section will be a whole composition and able to be independently viewed. The entire work will incorporate an interwoven narrative in three layers, which consist of:
•First Layer: Represents “The Land” – El Camino Viejo created by Tongva feet and hoofs of oxen evolving into what became known as Wilshire Blvd. and the first thorough way for autos in Los Angeles on which the Ambassador Hotel would become a major landmark.
•Second Layer: Represents the People and Historical Events in Los Angeles – 1921 to 1968 – particularly as they relate to the full spectrum of ethnic communities in Los Angeles.
•Third layer: Represents Robert F. Kennedy’s narrative that leads him through his life to the primary election victory celebration in Los Angeles. We will focusparticularly on his views about poverty, the Vietnam War, education, health care, intolerance and the environment.
Judy Baca and her latest mural Seeing Through Others Eyes
The concept of the panels is that they are a sequential work of art, which can be viewed as one mural or as individual vignettes. While the murals are to be seen daily by children, it is not strictly a children’s work of art, but a public artwork that is in the tradition of the WPA and the Great Mexican Mural Tradition of the 20th century- works of art that are meant to last for 100’s of years and of the highest quality and can be studied by children for generations to come.
Movie on the installation of Tiny Ripples of Hope
Cesar Chavez Mosaics Complete in San Jose Monument
Mosaic construction has begun! Come take a look.
The exterior niches that now stand at San Jose University are now being created into mosaics in the SPARC gallery. A ton of glass (500 lbs) has been specially ordered from Cuernavaca, Mexico, the original factory that produced Siqueiros’s mosaic tile. Each exterior niche stands 4ft X 9ft tall and is a representation of Dolores Huerta, Gandhi, and a female and male farm worker from Salinas Valley. The mosaics will be completed this year. For more information on visiting the SPARC gallery as the mosaic production progresses please contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org.
The arch’s main mural depicts a contemplative Chavez over the fields of California, where the great boycotts took place. In the sky, Chavez’s meeting with Robert Kennedy during his great fast (accompanied by his wife and his mother) is highlighted, as fasting was a cornerstone to his philosophy of non-violence. Also in the sky, the virgin Guadalupe is also blessing his actions. Finally, a calaca (skeleton-skull) is depicted to represent the deaths resulting from the pesticide clouds being sprayed in the fields.
“A word as to the education of the heart. We don’t believe that this can be imparted through books, it can only be imparted through the loving touch of the teacher.” -César E. Chávez
The concept of the Monument is to commemorate Chavez through his ideals rather than to create a traditional European approach to a fallen soldier or important personage through a bust or bronze statute. It is not his personality that is to be remembered but his ideals and beliefs carried out in his actions to improve the conditions of the campesino, which inspired so many to join his efforts to achieve social justice. A key element to the monument is to teach the next generation how to choose to live a life in the center of your values and beliefs as Cesar Chavez did. Modeled on a Mayan corbelled arch with rounded mission arches, this site pays tribute to Chavez’s respective Spanish and indigenous roots. This arch is placed at the opposite site of the small plaza to necessitate pedestrian passage through its opening which will encompass the viewer with images of Chavez’s life inside the arch.
The Cesar Chavez Mosaic Production has begun at SPARC. These pieces will be installed at San Jose University, CA. The mosaic team is composed by Francois Bardol and Martha Ramirez, and is supported by the UCLA/SPARC Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab.