Donal Hord lived in San Diego most of his life and his large outdoor sculptures are placed in very well known locations.
I first saw a Donal Hord sculpture in the late 1950’s when I was a student at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University). It is one of his works which he created especially for public places when he worked for the Works Progress Administration, WPA, in the late 1930’s. It is the seated figure of an Aztec warrior and it used to be in the main quad of the college, in front of the library and bell tower. Since the school’s football team is the Aztecs, that made sense. I hadn’t seen any other Hord pieces at that time. Aztec has been in several different locations at SDSU since then.
I found Morning in the Embarcadero Maria Park at Seaport Village the other morning. Morning is a good time to see it because the six foot figure is made from black granite and it is hard to photograph it in glaring sun. It’s a beautiful, muscular man, waking in the morning. The man sits on a base of symbols, the sun and moon, fangs and corn. The fangs are an Aztec symbol of man’s birth from the earth and corn is both a Mexican and American Indian symbol for the basic source of life giving food.
It’s hard to get a picture of the whole sculpture because of the trees and water and buildings directly behind it. But the close-ups show the detail of the body and the wonderful power of the curving muscles.
Hord carved the piece between 1951 and 1956. He kept Morning in his own home. He died in 1966. The sculpture was not acquired by the Port of San Diego until 1983.