La Ofrenda, 1989
By Yreina D. Cervantez
Toluca & 2nd Street
Downtown Los Angeles
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Yreina D. Cervantez was born in Kansas and received a degree from UC Santa Cruz, and an MFA from UCLA.
ABOUT THE MURAL
The ofrenda, Spanish for “offering,” is an alter made to made to honor a saint or important person. This ofrenda is made in honor of Dolores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America. The offerings come in form of candles, calla lilies, a god’s eye, and images of the workers for whose rights she fought for. On the right side of the piece, open hands display a poem by Gloria Alvarez. The mural is an homage to the strength of Latina women. It brings attention to the hardships of war and immigration, while highlighting the life and hope that endures through these struggles.
“La Ofrenda”, tagged several times before being completely painted over.
If you’re lucky, you can find SPARC’s CityWide Mural Program Team on the job, equipped with their pickup truck full of tools, ready to work their magic on a mural that’s been damaged by sun, tagged with graffiti, or painted over completely. The Team makes it look easy, but don’t be fooled: restoring a mural is no simple feat. In fact, it requires extreme comfortability of heights.
On July 20, 2016, the CityWide Mural Program (CWMP) team, led by project manager Carlos Rogel, began the restoration process of La Ofrenda,located under a bridge on 2nd and Toluca in downtown Los Angeles. The piece was painted by Yreina Cervantez in 1989. Since then, the mural had been tagged with graffiti numerous times and completely covered by another mural.
“‘La Ofrenda’ had actually been fully restored in 2012 in anticipation of Dolores Huerta’s birthday,” Project Manager Carlos Rogel, who leads and supervises each undertaking of the CWMP, recounts. According to Carlos, the mural was protected with an anti-graffiti coating upon its restoration. However, the mural was vandalized after the coating. Although the graffiti was removed from the mural, the work was left uncoated and thus, unprotected from future acts of vandalism. Due to funding complications with the contractor hired to remove the graffiti, the mural continued to be tagged over during these setbacks.