ABUELA | El Mac, KOFIE & NUKE UTI | 2015 

 
La abuelita, the grandmother, weaver of blankets,

You gaze upon a new day as the moon sets in the west,

its incandescent glow and light guides the spirits that once resided in this city of the Angels.

At the turn of the century when this building was built, when this city was abustle with Victorian homes and model A's and model T's.

There has always been an abuelita looking up and to the sky, praying for the souls that keep the night suspended above us. Its black cloak filled with stars, its green ghosts swirling in the early dawn air.

Abuelita, grandmother of the arts, guide our souls to rejoice in the days we create.

For we are the dawn

a dream becoming reality

weaving our stories of the past.

Weaving them into place, from order out of chaos, from plurality to singularity.

A blanket carries so much weight. It holds our dreams. But do we often wonder who weaves the blanket, or what they were thinking? La abuelita, she thinks of us when she weaves. It is not so hard to imagine that God is a grandmother.

-Joseph 'Nuke' Montalvo



 
On reflection of the mural created by El Mac, Augustine Kofie, and Joseph 'Nuke' Montalvo on The American Hotel in the Los Angeles Arts District. With guidance and wisdom from UTI and Earth Crew.

 
The portrait is painted entirely with aerosol and fatcaps, and is based on photos I shot a few years ago of an artist named Martha Gorman Schultz. She is a Navajo blanket weaver from northern Arizona, and part of a respected family of weavers including her granddaughter, Melissa Cody.

 
I felt this painting of Martha could be an empowering representation of beauty not often depicted in public art or media. Beauty that is feminine, elderly, indigenous, loving and powerful.

 
The building this mural was painted on was constructed in 1901, and you can imagine how much Los Angeles history it's seen over the last hundred years or so.

 
Martha and some of her family were able to come to LA to visit the mural last week, which was an important occasion since this was also her first time in Los Angeles, and I was glad I could be there to meet them.

Thanks to Martha, Melissa, The American Hotel, and UTI crew.