Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Late Mosaic Monday in Hermosa Beach

This post is late because a Patch article had to come first.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hermosa Beach has installed a new mosaic of the original, iconic, 480-year-old picture that hangs in Mexico City. Read all about it in my Patch piece.
The article gives the basic history of Our Lady of Guadalupe as well, which I won't repeat here. If you are interested, read about it on Wikipedia, which has a pretty comprehensive entry with lots of pictures and links.
The Hermosa Beach church started Phase 3 of a 3-phase building project, and each phase starts with the dedication of a piece of artwork depicting a patron saint. Phase 2, for example, was the rebuilding of the friary, which was falling apart. That began with the dedication of a lovely statue of St. Anthony of Padua (sorry, no picture--although I believe there's one on the church's website.)
So Phase 3--upgrading the school and adding a preschool--began with this dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The mosaic faces Prospect in a residential neighborhood, just south of 5th St on a little road called Massey.

Because Patch chose not to run it, I'm gonna add this picture of the artist, Sergio Hernández-Madera. He flew up from Guadalajara to repair and install the mosaic (it arrived damaged).
Sergio's website is, where you can read about him in English or Spanish. There you can see his other work: resort swimming pools lined with a hibiscus flower mosaic in Playa del Carmen, or a bird of Paradise in Hawaii, for example, or retro-senoritas on a restaurant wall at Disney World. He did a seascape for the Discovery Channel in MD.
His mosaics can be portraits or recreate artwork from the PreRaphaelites to Picasso.
The artist learned to make mosaics from his grandmother, and still has some of her work.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish has been around for decades, of course, and has other representations of Mary, the Mother of God--like this statue. It also shows her as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it even has mosaic work in it--in gold, no less.
A few things I learned researching this post and article:
First, the cloth that the 480-year-old picture is imprinted upon should have deteriorated 460 years ago.
Second, some claim that the picture's eyes--imprinted on that ancient cloth--reflect the scene 480 years ago, with images of people in them. Read more about that here.
Third, "Guadalupe" has nothing to do with the place where she appeared. The lady spoke to an indigenous man when she appeared, using Nahuatl--his language. She told him she was Coatlaxopeuh, meaning "the one who crushes serpents." Coatlaxopeuh sounded like Guadalupe to the Spanish.
It's all on Wiki, and the same story is on many other sites. There's even a link to the 16th-century narrative of the story.

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