Public Art: Untitled (Mexican Heritage School of Arts and Culture)*Categories:
- Public Art
Artists: Anne Chamberlain and Victor Maria Zaballa (1999)
The main theme of the artwork is Cemanahuac: the location of the individual within his/her community as well as within the cosmos.
According to Mesoamerican indigenous cultures and oral traditions, each of the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west) corresponds to an element, a community memory of value, a time of day, and a color of corn a fundamental agricultural symbol: East is fire, family, sunrise, and red corn West is wind, local heroes, sunset, and yellow corn South is earth, work, noon, and blue corn North is water, history, night, and white corn. These symbols honor the Mexican community in various forms throughout the plaza:
- Four patterned metal grilles in the windows of the tower introduce traditional ironwork with pre-Columbian designs. Metal work is continued in each of the gates into the plaza. Mosaic thresholds inside the gates explore the theme of location and direction. The thresholds were inspired by mosaics commonly seen in Mexican colonial cities such as Taxco, Puebla and Tlaxcala and mosaic work in San Jose.
- The garden alcoves are offering places linked by thematic press tiles to the cardinal directions and dedicated to a community value. The tiles were created by community members during a series of public workshops. The photographic tiles were translated from family albums and personal collections contributed by the local community.
- A recurring image of the hummingbird, derived from Mesoamerican motifs, can be seen at the water fountain and on two accent walls at the south and east entrances. The hummingbird, an ancient Mesoamerican talisman, is a symbol of love and the warrior spirit. It is common in San Jose, a tiny but tenacious bird that migrates thousands of miles from Mexico to California every year and plays a role in shaping the landscape by pollinating the plants from which it drinks nectar. The hummingbird motif is intended to speak to the spirit of immigrant citizens, their endurance, strength, tenacity, and their contributions to the culture and nature of California. The choices of planting materials in the garden were selected to attract hummingbirds.
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