The art of Chicano/a/x printmaking, activism.

A collection of bold contemporary art can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The exhibition is titled: Chicano/a/x Printmaking: Making Prints and Making History – 50 Years of Art Activism.

The many colorful pieces on display include woodblock prints, serigraphs and lithographs. Most of the artwork was created to provide a voice for Mexican-American communities and promote social change. The images urge Chicano/a/x activism, and include themes such as political struggle, racism, poverty and immigration.

According to the SDSU Downtown Gallery website: “Featuring important historical and contemporary examples of printed works on paper, the exhibition highlights printmaking as one of the oldest, most enduring, and widely used processes for Chicano/a/x artists working from the 1940s to today . . . Artists and groups in the exhibition include Yreina Cervantes, Rupert Garcia, Diane Gamboa, Ester Hernandez, Malaquías Montoya, Victor Ochoa, Self Help Graphics & Art, and Salvador Roberto Torres, among others.”

As I journeyed along each gallery wall, I was struck by the emotional potency of the artwork. There are images that depict cultural pride and strength, and images that powerfully convey human suffering.

In addition to thought-provoking political messages, visitors to the gallery can observe the evolution of printmaking and see how ideas are effectively conveyed and magnified using simple posters. The eye-catching designs and the creativity of these prints should intrigue everyone who loves art.

The exhibition will continue at the SDSU Downtown Gallery through April 5, 2020.

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!

Prints by Rufino Tamayo at America Plaza.

It seems few people realize the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has a small “gallery” inside One America Plaza, the tall building that stands across Kettner Boulevard from the museum’s downtown location. Works of art are often displayed behind several windows in a passage connected to the office building’s lobby.

The artwork now on display is titled Sun: Prints by Rufino Tamayo from MCASD’s Collection.

According to a sign in one window: “Rufino Tamayo was a prolific artist working in many media, from oil painting and watercolor to printmaking and even sculpture. Tamayo was also a prominent muralist, and completed projects for museums, universities, and libraries throughout the world. Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Tamayo emerged as one of the leading artists in his country and is recognized internationally as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century.”

This morning I enjoyed a look at the eleven pieces that are on display. To me they all possess a primitive, even elemental quality that seems mysteriously symbolic. These are representations of life that are both strange and intimately understood. They are visions that you might see in your dreams.

If you happen to be in downtown San Diego, or simply love the art of Rufino Tamayo, head into the main entrance of One America Plaza, then turn left to find this small treasure trove of fantastic art!

For the sun is in all his pictures, whether we see it or not; night itself for Tamayo is simply the sun carbonized. --Octavio Paz
For the sun is in all his pictures, whether we see it or not; night itself for Tamayo is simply the sun carbonized. –Octavio Paz

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!

Making adobe blocks in Old Town.

Today I spent a couple of hours exploring Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and a small section of nearby Presidio Park. As I walked through Old Town’s historic plaza near the Cosmopolitan Hotel, I noticed some people in period attire were demonstrating how to create adobe blocks.

At the very beginning of San Diego, in the early days of Spanish and Mexican settlers, adobe was the small town’s primary building material. Primitive bricks–or blocks–were made by simply mixing mud and straw together. The mixture was then shaped using wooden forms, then left to dry in the sun for a month or so. The resulting adobe blocks were used to build walls that in our arid climate were remarkably sturdy and insulating.

During past visits to Old Town, I’ve seen people working in this same spot demonstrating the making of adobe. Over time, that wall in a couple of my photos has slowly grown.

I was told by one friendly gentleman that eventually this grassy spot will be used for a Native American Kumeyaay exhibit, and a more permanent demonstration adobe structure will be built inside the fenced area near Old Town’s Blacksmith Shop.

Here’s a pic I took a couple months ago which shows how the adobe wall is slowly being built, layer by layer…

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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!

Street art near San Ysidro border crossing!

Should you ever walk through San Ysidro, a short distance north of the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, you’ll notice lots of colorful street art! Much of of the artwork celebrates Mexican culture, depicting kids with piñatas, vaqueros, mariachis, baile folklórico dancers, Aztec and Día de los Muertos imagery, and a whole variety of festive scenes.

I enjoyed a long walk from the San Ysidro/Tijuana Transit Center over the long pedestrian bridge that overlooks the busy Port of Entry, and west down Camino de la Plaza near Las Americas Premium Outlets. I then retraced my steps and headed north up San Ysidro Boulevard.

I noticed that much of the street art on electrical boxes, which has become faded over time, was painted by Gerardo Meza. I also saw some street lamp banners sponsored by the Border Public Art Committee featuring images by the same artist.

And look at the funny mural that I spotted! A shopper with a clown nose has money flying out of her purse!

San Ysidro is always bustling with humanity. The gritty streets and sidewalks hum with activity, as tourists, shoppers, workers and commuters head north and south at all hours. The nearby San Ysidro Port of Entry is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere!

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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!

Photos of Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession.

Catholics from across a large area of Southern California gathered today on B Street by San Diego City College for a special event. The many parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego took part in the annual Procession to Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the late morning I watched as the faithful gathered just east of Park Boulevard. The annual procession would head west to Civic Center Plaza, where a ceremony would take place.

I took some photos as people busily prepared each parish float, attaching religious banners, flowers, flags, and a special spot where a young lady would pose as a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Then the procession began down B Street, into the heart of downtown.

I saw colorful Aztec dancers, and black-garbed priests, and the Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, and smiling queens, and joyous mariachis and baile folklórico dancers.

Members of Catholic churches across San Diego County and beyond walked behind the parish floats, singing and rejoicing and holding banners, celebrating the miracle appearance of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, all those years ago outside Mexico City.

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!

Cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

The 250th Anniversary of San Diego is being celebrated this year.

In 1769 a Spanish expedition established El Presidio Reál de San Diego atop a hill near the San Diego River, along with the original Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

San Diego, however, didn’t become a city of any real significance until the late 19th century.

For a city that is relatively young, San Diego today enjoys remarkable cultural diversity. Much of this diversity is due to our close ties and overlapping history with Mexico. Much also comes from the variety of immigrants who have settled in and helped to build our growing city.

In the past, Cool San Diego Sights has featured many posts about cultural diversity in San Diego’s history.

Here are some links that you can explore…

A new flag is raised for San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

Exhibit shows Kumeyaay history in the South Bay.

Festival recreates landing of explorer Cabrillo.

San Diego’s early history at the Serra Museum.

San Diego history in Old Town’s McCoy House.

History at the Los Peñasquitos adobe ranch house.

Days of the Vaqueros in Old Town San Diego!

Gravestones tell stories of early San Diego history.

Photos inside the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

Historical exhibit at Women’s Museum of California.

African-Americans helped to build San Diego.

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

Mural in Cesar Chavez Park depicts local history.

A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

San Diego history: World War II and the Tuna Fleet.

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!

Marigolds add meaning to El Campo Santo.

Most of the traditional Día de los Muertos decorations have been put away.

In the small El Campo Santo cemetery, marigolds are all that remain.

According to Mexican tradition, marigolds, with their color and scent, guide spirits back to the living.

El Campo Santo (The Holy Field) is where many of San Diego’s earliest residents were buried. Marigolds on graves remind the living that those who founded our city are still with us.

To learn more about some of the people laid to rest in Old Town’s historic El Campo Santo cemetery, click 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!

Colorful photos of Escondido Tamale Festival!

Here are a few colorful photos taken today during the Escondido Tamale Festival!

This very popular free event is held every year in Grape Day Park, right next to Escondido City Hall and the California Center for the Arts. Tamale making champions from around the region come together to compete for a prized trophy!

A crowd of tamale lovers had lined up on the grass anticipating a treat, and many were at outdoor tables feasting.

There were mariachis and other entertainers performing on the Grande Stage, a big kids zone, and all sorts of vendors. I noticed a few people were dressed up for Día De Los Muertos.

Because I walked about in a zigzag, looking at a wide variety of things in and around the park, I missed the Chihuahua Costume Contest and some cool lowriders that were parked nearby.

Maybe next year!

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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!

Old Town readies for Dia de los Muertos.

I had a half hour to do whatever I pleased before work yesterday, so I got off the trolley at Old Town and took a short stroll around the State Park.

I noticed some of the shops and restaurants are already getting ready for Dia de los Muertos. A few skeletons and skulls greeted me!

The very popular Day of the Dead event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be celebrated on November 1-3, 2019.

That will definitely be a fun weekend!

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!

World-famous fine art inside the Coronado Library.

Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966, the last sculpture by Donal Hord, which now is displayed in the Coronado Public Library.
Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966. This last sculpture by Donal Hord is now displayed inside the Coronado Public Library.

Displayed inside the Coronado Library are many beautiful works of art. Several of these works are important pieces by internationally famous artists.

The two world-renowned artists are Donal Hord and Alfredo Ramos Martinez.

Donal Hord’s iconic sculptures can be found in various places around San Diego. He was one of the artists who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1949.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez is considered to be the Father of Mexican Modernism. He served as the Director of the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. He was founder of the Open Air (Aire Libre) School of Painting in Mexico. His students included Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueros, and Rufino Tamayo.

I took these photographs a couple weeks ago during a visit to Coronado.

You can learn more about the history of these amazing pieces and other artwork in the library here.

Donal Hord's granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library's Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Donal Hord’s granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library’s Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez inside the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez.

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!