Photos of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle!

Come with me. We’re about to enter Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.

We will step from our day-to-day routine into a mysterious maze of fractured white and black, turns and mirrors. We will suddenly emerge into a strange spiritual realm. A dreamlike surreal somewhere beneath our ordinary experience. A secret cosmos.

We will move through a fertile landscape teeming with faces and essential forms and wildly dancing colors and true symbols. Alive with infinitely circling snakes and joyfully soaring birds. We will find ourselves in Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, where our eyes will perceive our own existence more clearly.

Where life is triumphant.

These are the hands of those who assembled the magic.

That is the hand of sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, who envisioned this magical circle and breathed into it her life.

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

You will learn:

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by the renowned French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Inspired by California’s mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular “snake wall” and maze entry way. The symbols and forms are freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art as well as the artist’s own fantastic imagery.

Queen Califia and the Eagle Throne measures 24 x 22 x 20 feet. It is built of polystyrene encased in urethane skin with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature.

Working from original clay maquettes, the eight totems were made in similar fashion. They are: Cathead Totem, Birdhead Totem, Yelling Man Totem, Bullhead Totem, Untitled Totem (Bird on a Square), Kingfisher Totem, Step Totem and Snake Totem.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle uses a greater diversity of mosaic materials than seen in any of Niki de Saint Phalle’s other large-scale projects. For the first time she used polished and tumbled stones such as agates, quartzes and turquoise. The results are magical and ever changing.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is nestled in a natural landscape within Escondido’s Kit Carson Park.

Niki’s original inspiration for the garden came while she was reading Assembling California by geologist John McPhee. There he discusses the legend of Queen Califia, a beautiful and powerful black Amazon queen who ruled over the island of California, a paradise of gold and riches.

The information sign includes an article concerning the opening of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in 2003. “The garden promises to become an instantaneous cultural landmark for the San Diego region–a place where visitors can roam at will, play, touch, dream…”

…a shimmering, virtuoso display of mosaic art…

A short biography of Niki de Saint Phalle. She was born in France in 1930 and raised in New York. She first came to international prominence in 1961 as part of the influential “New Realists,” a group that also included Christo, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely (whom she married in 1971). In 1994 she moved to La Jolla, where she lived until her death in 2002.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle was completed one year after her death.

Other works of Niki de Saint Phalle can be enjoyed around San Diego. (You can find photos of them by searching this blog.)

Life raises new life.

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!

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Manifest Your Future in amazing Balboa Park.

Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.
Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.

Please enjoy these photographs of life in Balboa Park. I took them today.

Is Balboa Park in your future?

Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Beautiful music beckons.
Beautiful music beckons.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Savera Soin's future will be filled with color.
Savera Soin’s future will be filled with color.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Perhaps a cactus is also in your future.
Perhaps a cactus from a San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society show and sale is in your future.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap'd treats were in my future. At present they are in my stomach.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap’d treats were in my future. I couldn’t avoid them! At present they are in my stomach.
Mysterious eyes peer from the future of some. It all depends where feet turn.
These mysterious eyes peer from the future of a few. It all depends where feet turn.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Messages written on the city sidewalks.

As I wander around San Diego, I observe messages written on the sidewalks.

Many of the messages are essential. Some recall history. A few are mysterious. Some are fading.

On these common sidewalks, the forward paths of our lives intersect.

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!

Wisdom on the Love Wall in Balboa Park.

Love little moments.
Messages of love.

A heart-shaped Love Wall stands on the patio of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. It has been there for several months.

Dangling from the wall are many short messages. Powerful words have been written on pieces of colored paper by many human hands. Some messages are old and faded. Others are bright and new. There’s plenty of space on the Love Wall for more wisdom.

A heart-shaped Love Wall stands on the patio of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park.
A heart-shaped Love Wall stands on the patio of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park.
Many messages dangle from the Love Wall. Love each other.
Many messages dangle from the Love Wall.
Amo mi familia. Love is accepting you.
Amo mi familia. Love is accepting you.
Smile.
Smile.
Love heals all.
Love heals all.
Love one another. Kindness ripples.
Love one another. Kindness ripples.
Family is everything.
Family is everything.
Love is . . . knowing it's right.
Love is . . . knowing it’s right.
Many messages of love from many different hands, young and old.
Many messages of love from many different hands, young and old.
I love you. Friendship.
I love you. Friendship.

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!

A heart on the ground. Music on a rooftop.

A couple days ago I noticed two hearts while walking through downtown.

One was lying on the hard sidewalk, protected with sharp barbs. The other was up on a rooftop, in a musician playing violin. The musician’s heart was precarious, vulnerable and free.

Do you protect your heart? Do you express it?

To read thoughtful short stories about the complex human condition, click Short Stories by Richard.

Photography depicts human lives In Transit.

Every human life is important.

This truth becomes abundantly clear when you visit the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Their current exhibition, In Transit, features the photography of five artists who document the plight of refugees.

According to the description: “Focusing on the tentative, limbo-like experience of living between different cultures, these five artists explore narratives of immigrants who traverse the no-man’s land existing between home and hope.”

The five artists are: George Awde, Gohar Dashti, Daniel Castro Garcia, Tanya Habjouqa, and Stefanie Zofia Schulz.

This emotionally powerful exhibition runs through July 14, 2019. One should see it.

These photographs help us to more deeply understand Humanity.

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!

A dance, Wonder Woman, empty shoes, roses.

An exhausted face looks out from the window of Via Pia restaurant.
An exhausted face looks out from the window of Via Pia restaurant.

This afternoon, feeling restless, I went on a random walk through downtown San Diego.

It’s Mother’s Day.

If this blog post seems vaguely philosophical, I’ll let you decide what it all means…

I spotted a City Ballet of San Diego poster in the lobby of the Spreckels Theater Building. Carmina Burana is coming soon.
I spotted a City Ballet of San Diego poster in the lobby of the Spreckels Theater Building. Carmina Burana is coming soon.
City Ballet of San Diego is looking for donations for their Pointe Shoe Fund.
City Ballet of San Diego is looking for donations for their Pointe Shoe Fund.
A glass container full of pointe ballet shoes. Each provides an unknown number of dances.
A glass container full of pointe shoes. Each provides an unknown number of dances.
William Dorsett, a street artist who often hangs out near the USS Midway, created this cool painting of Wonder Woman.
William Dorsett, a street artist who often hangs out near the USS Midway, created this cool painting of Wonder Woman.
A couple walks along Embarcadero Marina Park North.
A couple walks along Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Mexican dolls for sale on the boardwalk.
Mexican dolls for sale on the boardwalk.
A spinning yellow sunflower at Alamo Flags in Seaport Village.
A yellow sunflower at Alamo Flags in Seaport Village.
Someone mediates on the wall near Rock Man, the amazing stone balancer.
Someone mediates on the wall near Rock Man, the amazing balancer.
A faded flower at the foot of the Merchant Seamen Memorial.
A fading flower at the foot of the Merchant Seamen Memorial.
Walking along by the water one afternoon.
Strolling along by the water one afternoon.
A duck disregards a sign by the Children's Park fountain.
A duck disregards a sign by the Children’s Park fountain.
A restored PCC streetcar of the Silver Line arrives at the Convention Center trolley station.
A restored PCC streetcar of the Silver Line arrives at the Convention Center trolley station.
Checking out a cool classic car in the Gaslamp.
Checking out a classic car in the Gaslamp.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
Shoes with no walker.
Shoes with no walker.
Carrying a bouquet of red roses.
Carrying a bouquet of red roses.

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!