More about the Surfing Madonna in Encinitas which I posted last time. Still nothing is settled. Still a lot of controversy and commentary. It’s illegal art by placement. Phony construction workers clandestinely epoxied Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a surfboard to a cement support of a railroad overpass in Encinitas, California. Hence it is “graffiti” and not commissioned public art. Lots of people coming to look at it, though. Some hate it as sacrilegious. Some think it is perfect to represent the surfing city. No doubt about the “thought provoking” label. Understandably, the Encinitas City Council says it can’t stay where it is, a “religious” piece on public property. But what to do with it? It may not be able to be saved and moved if the epoxy is strong. It’s made of hundreds of tiny mosaic tiles. It may have to be chipped away. And who will pay the cost of conserving it or destroying it? It’s not over yet.
Fortunately, there are many public art pieces not surrounded by such controversy and which present us with an inspiring and appreciated art work.
One is Ross Barrable’s memorial piece for a Chula Vista leader, Ronald J. McElliott. It is a Wind Harp. It hums with the wind in a spot by the bay at the Chula Vista Marina. I had to stand close to it to hear it but a couple passing by suggested I put my hand on the metal base and my ear close to the base. The metal vibrates like the wire strings above and the whole piece reverberates in the changing wind currents. I can’t image anyone would not be glad to come across it.
There are rocks on the ground with words, “Inspire,” “Listener,” “Friend.” They reminded me of the scene in the Fellowship of the Ring in which Tolkien’s heroes stand in front of the magic gate to the mines of Moria trying to figure out the writing, “Speak, friend, and enter.”
These rocks, however, do not lead to an Orc infested underground city. The ships in the marina, the California sun, the singing harp are exactly the opposite. Bright day, blue water, a memorial to a friend. Can’t get much better.