Sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga at UC San Diego.

Yucateca Sentada is a beautiful bronze sculpture slightly off the beaten path at UC San Diego. It can be discovered by observant students passing down the Ridge Walk through Thurgood Marshall College, by the Administration Building. A walkway leads west to a bench that faces the life-size sculpture. (It isn’t far from Sojourner Truth, another bronze sculpture beside the Ridge Walk.)

Yucateca Sentada (Seated Woman of the Yucatan) was created by renowned Costa Rican-born Mexican artist Francisco Zúñiga in 1976. It was donated to UC San Diego in 1983 by Elsa Dekking and UCSD physics professor Keith Brueckner. That was back when Marshall College was called Third College.

Here’s a photo taken right after its installation, with Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson providing a few words. There’s also an article in the October 3, 1983 issue of The UCSD Guardian concerning the dedication. You can read that here on page 7.

When I first saw this beautiful piece, so radiant with elemental humanity and silent dignity, I thought it might be a work of famed San Diego artist Donal Hord. It’s similar to two works I’ve seen by Hord, Spring Stirring and Aztec.

Then I realized I’d seen another very fine sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga in San Diego. His Mother and Daughter Seated can be found near the front entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.

I photographed Mother and Daughter Seated back in 2016, as it and various other sculptures were being installed in Balboa Park’s outdoor Plaza de Panama. You can enjoy those photos here.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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