Titled "Our Legacy: Forever Presente" by Jose Antonio Aquirre, this tops the library on 3rd Street in East Los Angeles. Supervisor Gloria Molina got the funding for this new building, which opened in 2004. THis is from the library's own website:
Community residents requested that the new library reflect Mayan design and themes. Since many Mayan structures in southern Mexico and Central America were astronomical observatories, the designers incorporated references to the sun and the moon, both themes in Mayan art, in the pavement at the entrances and in the lobby.
The interior foyer features artist Jose Antonio's monumental mosaic mural cycle "OUR LEGACY: Forever Presente..." which is a visual tribute to East Los Angeles' proud cultural heritage and socio-political struggle.
The sculpted limestone column is part of the artwork as well, but the mosaic--which covers 2000 square feet, is the focal point. Byzantine and Venetian glass are the materials--Venetian glass is glass from Venice, and Byzantine glass are small glass tiles, usually opague, made by mixing molten glass with metal oxides for color. The technique was developed in ancient Byzantium, and the glass is also called smalti. Smalti can be mass-produced these days.
I really like the image at right, because it shows some detail of the pieces. I 'borrowed' it from the LA County Arts Commission website.
The mosaic has four sections: "The Gift to Humanity," "Arrival," "The Heart of the People," and "Departure." THe figures on it are famous people of past years--people like Cesar Chavez, Ruben Salazar, Oscar De La Hoya, Edward James Olmos, and even Supervisor Molina.