Sherman Oaks Library
Computer generated mural, 5’ x 32’ with three additional sections 1’ x 8’ each.
In 2003, I received a commission to create a mural for the Sherman Oaks Library from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. I spent almost two years working with Tongva, Native Americans who predated the Spanish in the Los Angeles area, so that I could properly represent their culture. The mural was structured to show plants, animals, artifacts and rituals important to them throughout the year and was an outgrowth of my interest in astronomy and archeoastronomy. The left side starts with the winter solstice, and moving left to right it includes the spring equinox, summer solstice, fall equinox and on the extreme right, the winter solstice again. The new moon is represented each month because the Tongva held a ritual each month to coax the moon to become full again.
In the middle top of the mural is a sun surrounded by porpoises. The Tongva believe that these fish swim in the waters around the world to protect life and thus, I placed them swimming around a globe/sun. I also included the colors chosen by the Tongva to symbolize the cardinal directions.
I included photographs of people from Sherman Oaks holding things they treasure who wrote about their hopes and dreams and greatest fears. I wanted to make a comparison of the values of the Tongva with the values of the people living in Sherman Oaks 150 years later. Oscar Ortiz, Barbara Drake and Mark Acuna taught me about native plants, animals, Tongva culture, artifacts and rituals. In addition, Dr. Brian Penprase from Pomona College helped me with the calculations for the new moon each month and Dr. Edmund Krupp of the Griffiths Park Observatory helped me gain access to Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, the site of ancient summer and winter solstice markers for the Tongva and Chumash peoples.