El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

LA Murals - Chinatown

While researching these items, I discovered a website called Public Art in LA. On the one hand, public art helps to redeem LA for me, but on the other hand, the volume of murals, mosaics and sculpture is almost overwhelming. Who knew? I mean really, who knew there was so much public art in LA? 

There are two dragons overhead as you enter the gates of Chinatown. This is one of them. They were designed by Rupert Mok and dedicated in 2001.  The plaque, in both English and Chinese, tells us that:
"The majestic dragons above the clouds usher in good luck and harmony.
This Gateway and the Chinatown skyline reflect the community' prosperity.
We came from far away--crossing the ocean to seek our dreams;
Together we have worked to create our new homeland.
Hundred years of success were brought about by our forefathers;
Continual prosperity relies on our children from generation to generation.
Blue skies and blooming flowers can be seen everywhere;
But these roots in Chinatown are forever the heart of our family."
The day I visited, the blue skies were, in fact, rather grey.

Next is the Chinese Celestial Dragon Mural, created by Tyrus Wong in 1941, and located in Chinatown at
951 Broadway (between College and Bernard) on the exterior of what is now a United Savings Bank. This mural has been carefully restored twice Fu-Ding Cheng, once in 1970 and again in 1984.
In traditional Chinese culture seeing a dragon is a blessing. Here he is chasing a fireball, which represents the raw power and energy of the universe.

This tile mosaic appears on the opposite face of the building, on Broadway.

Finally, this tile mosaic entitled: "Four Beauties Catching Swimming Fish". It is located at 913 N. Broadway, Chinatown, LA. Created by an anonymous mosaicist in 1968, it is one of three that apparently were created in Hong Kong prior to being installed on the building's facade.  I'd like to get a clearer picture of this one, along with the other two mosaics on either side. A project for my next trip to LA.