Signature Public Art Mural Coming to Downtown San Leandro
The paint going up on the St. Leander Parish Gymnasium building is not a new paint job for the gym, it is a new public art mural. Inspired by public input at the Arts and Culture Town Hall meeting held last year, the City has partnered with the St. Leander Parish and the Downtown CBD, to attract world renowned artist Rigo 23 to paint a mural showcasing the City’s cultural and historical heritage. Titled “The Great Migration of the Monarch Butterflies,” the mural will feature the vibrantly colored annual visitors and as a nod to the City’s founding Portuguese settlers, a “meta-mother” Portuguese woman. In his own words, Rigo provides this interpretation:
“The mural focuses on the remarkable multi-generational migration phenomena embodied by the Monarch Butterfly, and uses the image of a larger than life [Portuguese] woman, as a sort of meta-mother; a stand in for the awesome nature of Life itself, she holds a flower on which the butterfly rests and feeds. The migratory cycle of the monarch butterfly happens over a four generation cycle – starting in Mexico, crossing the USA into Canada and then returning to Mexico.”
Rigo 23 moved from Portugal to San Francisco 25 years ago and has created well known art pieces that most Bay Area residents would recognize. The City of San Leandro was developed, in part, by Portuguese settlers emigrating from the Azores in search of opportunities in farming and agriculture. Rigo is from the nearby Portuguese island of Madeira, which makes him the perfect artist for this project. The monarch butterflies featured in the mural have a special significance in the City. The San Leandro Monarch Bay Golf Club features a protected area of Eucalyptus trees for the butterflies to rest during the winter migration on their journey south to Mexico. Some examples of Rigo’s existing art work are posted below.
The mural is expected to be completed this fall. Once complete, it will serve as an inviting entrance to the City’s downtown from San Leandro Boulevard and BART.