Thanks to our 12 Days of Mother Love journey 2016, I learned something I did not know right in the city I was born in and now I’m ready for a field trip. Thanks to Rebecca Brooks at Recuerda mi Corazon and this year's participants, I learned so much that I didn't know before. This is Our Lady of Guadalupe painted on the exterior of the Community Development Commission’s Housing Authority Building – L.A. County Arts Organization.
Artist: David Lopez Date: 1973
CDC Office Building (Exterior)
4800 Cesar E. Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90022
While driving along Mednik Avenue in East Los Angeles it is impossible to miss David Lopez’s two 13’ h x 25’ w murals on the exterior of the Community Development Commission’s Housing Authority building. These murals were originally painted on a wall of the old Casa Maravilla housing project bungalows, but were salvaged and relocated when the housing project was torn down in 1975.
Designed by the artist with assistance from local teenagers, one mural features an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by an aura of radiating colorful light while the other mural includes a cross overlaid with lines from a poem by Sam Zepeda. The poem reads, “Hermano / y porque estoy aquí en la tierra / sin sangrar / sin andar / Hermano por qué?” (translated in English as “Brother / why am I here on earth / without bleeding / without moving / Brother, why?”). The murals, joined together by a brick pillar, were dedicated to a young gang member who died as a victim of gang violence. The murals were originally designed to serve as a local community shrine and today people still come to leave flowers, light candles, and pray.
Over the years the murals’ paint faded and the local community restored the works with good intentions, but unfortunately the original artist was not consulted and a new painter changed the murals’ appearance. In 2008, David Lopez received funding from the Community Development Commission to restore the murals to their original brilliance and detail.
About the Artist
A native of East Los Angeles, David Lopez attended the Art Center College of Design and majored in illustration before pursuing a career in the film industry. Lopez worked as a production painter, scenic artist, and background animation artist for Batman, Lethal Weapon, and several Michael Jackson commercials. He has also worked with Robert Arenivar on a painting for the Pentagon of the Hispanic Medal of Honor winner and on a mural in an East Los Angeles bar that has been destroyed. Lopez currently lives in Saugus, California.
So, thanks Rebecca, for this wonderful 12 days!