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Art

Work in Progress ~ Huntington Park

2:30 PM PDT on September 21, 2006

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I was standing in an alley taking a picture of a different mural, backing up, using the “human zoom” to its fullest effect. Even the trusty “human zoom” has its limitations; I hit a wall, literally, and discovered this work in progress. Like the mural that faces it, it also had Hector Ponce’s name and website address. When I asked Hector’s son Levi about this mural, he told me that it is untitled and that they are negotiating with the building owner before they can finish it. Like the mural that faces it, this also blends Roman Catholic iconography and Mexican tradition and folklore. The Aztec Warrior/Unconscious Maiden motif that we encounter so often can be attributed to the work of Mexican graphic artists Jesus de la Helguera, (1910-1971), whose artistry graced many a Mexican calendar. The image incorporated in Hector’s mural dates back to the 1940s, and seems to address one of Helguera’s favorite themes, the Aztec legend of Popo and Ixta. I found this out in a short essay entitled “The Chicanization of Mexican Calendar Art”:

According to the Aztec legend, Popocapetl wanted to marry the Princess Ixtaccihuatl, but to do so he had to earn his warrior feathers in battle. Upon his triumphant return, Popo finds that Ixta, believing he had died in battle, had killed herself. Grieving, he takes her lifeless body in his arms to the highest mountains in Mexico so that the snowflakes would wake her. But she never wakes up and they both remained frozen, forming the silhouettes of the two famous snow-covered volcanoes in Mexico.

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