Copper printing blocks form storytelling art.

These copper Batik Printing Blocks, combined like words on a page, seem to tell a beautiful story. A complex story about life.

You can find this huge “panel” of Indonesian tjaps at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artwork has been installed on the second floor, near one of the doors that leads to the outdoor terrace overlooking the Plaza de Panama.

The copper blocks were used for wax resist textile printing. Each block, whose intricate design would be repeated on fabric, is combined with about 200 other unique blocks.

The cumulative effect is like a pile of golden Autumn leaves. Or shining memories collected like precious coins, spread on a table before one’s hands. Or a page ready set for a printing press.

It’s the story of a culture, created by many hands.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Induction Dance at the San Diego Fringe Festival!

Would it be silly? Serious? Amateurish? Professional?

I really didn’t know what to expect when I purchased a ticket today for the Induction Dance performance during the 2022 San Diego Fringe Festival.

I took my seat inside the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park and waited for the dance to begin. And what we got was a guy in a gorilla suit playing guitar! Then a clown on a tricycle!

Okay, I thought to myself. It’s the Fringe Festival. Only 10 bucks.

But then the performance changed dramatically.

And some good ballet dancing began. Really good!

I was blown away by the fluidity, sensuousness, and gorgeous moves by two dancers who obviously knew what they were doing!

Philip Amer, the Artistic Director of Induction Dance, danced with Saori Maeda. When each of several dances were completed, the audience applauded loudly. It was deserved.

Philip Amer hails from Escondido. Over the years he has performed with numerous ballet companies across the country. He also teaches dance.

Saori Maeda is 23 years old. She’s from Japan, now studying ballet and training in Southern California. Her moves were graceful and flawless. She is destined to be a star!

The performance today included several humorous skits that worked quite well, including a dance with a cloth dummy, and a mime-like ballerina trying to communicate words with particular movements.

Philip Amer stated his object is to make ballet entertaining and accessible for ordinary folk. I don’t know about the guitar playing gorilla and clown on a tricycle, but the rest of the act was original, witty, magical!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Echoes of Africa at San Diego Library.

The Central Library in downtown San Diego has a stimulating new exhibition in its Art Gallery on the 9th floor. Echoes of Africa opened last weekend.

Contemporary works by local African American artists are contrasted with African artifacts from San Diego Mesa College’s World Cultures Art collection, including objects that demonstrate the mastery of African artisans in metal, wood, ceramics, beadwork, and textiles.

One can see how the spirit and traditions of African ancestors live on, helping to guide the hands of inspired creators in our community.

As I wandered about the gallery, I was drawn to the abstract spray painted pieces by popular San Diego muralist and graffiti artist Maxx Moses. Traditional masks were translated into complex, colorful canvases full of symbolism. I was also stunned by some truly extraordinary wood artwork by Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Other talented artists in the exhibition are Andrea Chung, Angie Jennings, and Jermaine A. Williams.

Filling the gallery are dozens of fascinating pieces, accompanied by extensive descriptions, giving curious viewers an opportunity for contemplation and learning.

Additional objects from the extensive Mesa Colleges collection can be observed in glass display cases on the first floor of the Central Library.

The exhibition will continue through August 20, 2022.

Benin, 2022, Maxx Moses. Spray paint and acrylic on canvas.
Detelumo (Helmet Mask) of the Ejagham (Ekoi) People of Cross River, Nigeria. Wood, animal skin.
AGAIN, 2021, Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Padauk, wenge, rosewood, aromatic cedar, purple heart, walnut, maple, poplar and epoxy resin.
Bwoom (Helmet Mask) of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Wood.
Kuba Cloth of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.
Ceremonial Dance Skirt of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The big House of Mexico fiesta in Balboa Park!

A big, wonderful fiesta was held today in San Diego’s Balboa Park!

The House of Mexico held their annual lawn program at the International Cottages, and, as usual, a good crowd came out!

There was much to do and see–and eat! (I must admit those churros were irresistible.)

Smiles shined all around as the festival filled with more and more people. Members from diverse communities around San Diego and Mexico were in attendance, and all were welcome.

Before the entertainment began at two o’clock, I wandered into the House of Mexico’s new cottage. Inside, displays included some very striking folk art, representing the legends and spirituality of the indigenous Huichol or Wixárika. I was told the exhibits in the cottage will be changed every few months.

After wandering away to listen to the Spreckels Organ concert for a while, I returned to the International Cottages to catch some of the House of Mexico’s cultural entertainment.

Enjoy these photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Culture, spirituality at UC San Diego Powwow.

The UC San Diego 2022 Powwow began late this morning with Bird Singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

As people slowly arrived at Marshall College Field, the singers sang ancient stories of the world’s creation. Traditional dancers and shaken gourd rattles moved in rhythm with the words.

In the San Diego sunshine, the culture and history of the Kumeyaay was alive, passing from heart to heart, from generation to generation.

One of the bird singers explained how culture and spirituality live together hand in hand. The singing takes much time and sacrifice. It is for the people. It brought him and others happiness, enriching life in many ways.

Bringing this beautiful music to our world helps many to thrive in this day and time.

I listened. Took some photos. I stretched my legs and ate some Kumeyaay fry bread with powdered sugar and drizzled honey. Yum!

Bird Singers were followed by Gourd Dancers.

After a little while, I felt the urge to move forward through this amazing world, and I walked again down my path.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Barona Indian Charter School student Heritage Project!

Students from the 8th Grade Culture Class at Barona Indian Charter School have created a Heritage Project concerning Kumeyaay culture and history. Their work will be displayed in an upcoming exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

The exhibition is titled Kum ‘Enyaawapch Ewuupch which is in the northern dialect of the Kumeyaay language. Translated to English, it means The Way We See It.

The exhibition has its big opening celebration on May 26, 2022. See all the details here!

I learned about this exhibition as I walked past the entrance of the Mingei International Museum last weekend. Photos of students filled one window, near an informative sign.

You can hear introductions by the participating students on the Barona Cultural Center & Museum website here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Huge mural by Joram Roukes in Vista!

Have you seen the 60 foot tall mural at the new Found Lofts apartments in Vista’s Arts and Culture District? Joram Roukes, an internationally famous artist and muralist from The Netherlands, painted it a couple months ago!

The collage-like, multi-wall mural contains many elements, including a mountain climber, and images that represent the culture of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians. The frog and the coyote in the mural come from a traditional animal story of The First People: How Coyote Killed Frog. The Luiseño people inhabited this area long before Spaniards established nearby Mission San Luis Rey in 1798.

The very cool mural is located at 516 S. Santa Fe Avenue. You can’t miss it!

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Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy in Balboa Park.

A new exhibition opened a week ago at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s titled The Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy.

The works on display are curated by Befu Osawa, a Master Calligrapher based in San Diego. The history of Chinese and Japanese scripts is shown, along with Kanji letters that are very seldom seen.

The exquisite art of calligraphy has always fascinated me. Particularly when it’s applied to logograms that visually represent words. With careful applications of ink, the meanings of words and written stories are made visible, and imbued with additional dimension.

As a writer whose alphabetical pen strokes are careless scratches, that skillfully added depth makes me jealous!

If you love calligraphy, head over to the Exhibit Hall at the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden. This exhibition continues through July 23, 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

House of Norway’s celebration in Balboa Park!

Today the House of Norway celebrated their country’s Constitution Day a bit early with a lawn program in Balboa Park!

Norway’s proud history, democratic ideals and culture were showcased at the center of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

There was food (including waffles!), and folk song, and friendly folk in traditional costume, and speeches made by local dignitaries. And beautiful Norwegian crafts, like Hardanger embroidery, wood carving, and knitting. And Norwegian Elkhounds were on hand, too!

I checked out the festive event a couple of times as I walked about Balboa Park and took these photographs…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!