Our Bodies, Our Temples
- Juliana Martinez
- Artwork Type
- Media & Support
- Health Services
San Fernando High Teen Health Center
11133 O'Melveny Avenue
San Fernando, CA
Ceramic artist Juliana Martinez hand painted ceramic interpretations of masks featuring Pre-Columbian era gods. They are framed by 75 student made masks, creating the 9 foot by 8 foot mosaic tile mural in the health center lobby. Martinez intended the deities featured in the five large ceramic medallions to serve as guardians of health to students at the high school, who will visit the center for general wellness, dental, vision and mental health services.
To create the artwork, Martinez and San Fernando High School art teacher Heather Ambrosio led two workshops for students. Using their memory, imagination and clay, each student sculpted their own interpretation of masks based on their class lesson on “Masks of the Americas.” Exaggerated facial features commonly found in Pre-Columbian artifacts were added to either a student’s self portrait or the likenesses of important people in their life.
The artwork consists of more than 3,000 terra cotta, glass, hand painted ceramic and Talavera tiles. Talavera tile, sometimes called azulejos, was brought to Mexico from Spain and also contains Portuguese, Dutch and Moroccan influences. Martinez spent over three months in her studio painting, glazing and firing each of the large tiles.
About the Artist
Juliana Martinez is a mosaic tile muralist and teacher who taught art in Los Angeles, throughout the United States and abroad for 28 years. She has completed artwork for several public agencies including the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. To learn more about the artist, visit: www.julianamartinezart.com