The latest installation in the Murals of La Jolla program is artist Chitra Ganesh’s first large-scale public work on the West Coast.
“Resurgence,” at 7540 Fay Ave., is about connection, the artist says. Specifically, our bond with other species.
“San Diego is one of the most biodiverse places around, and it’s important to focus our attention on the future life cycles of the environment and the complex, intertwined relationships between other species around us,” said Ganesh. “On this depends the survival of the planet.”
The mural depicts a mythical-inspired four-armed figure emerging from the ocean wearing a gas mask. The figure is surrounded by animals and plants that are endangered or have been threatened at some point and have disappeared or been rescued. The downtown San Diego skyline and the vivid colors of the sunset help provide the backdrop.
“The character communes with different species,” Ganesh said. “I hope the piece will start a conversation and cultivate awareness of other life forms that people might see. I hope it inspires people to take a closer look at what’s around them.
The mural “emphasizes a dual narrative where the vast landscape oscillates between dystopia and utopia, reminding us of our agency at a crucial turning point for the future health of our planet,” according to a press release.
The figure also alludes to mermaids, drawing inspiration from Ganesh’s interest in science fiction and graphic imagery. The New York native works across a multitude of media. Although rooted in painting and drawing, her work has grown to include animation, comics, mixed media, video and sculpture.
La Jolla Murals executive director Lynda Forsha said the program’s art advisory committee was drawn to the multimedia aspect of Ganesh’s work.
“We all agreed that Chitra would bring something entirely new to the project since his multimedia work… draws inspiration from sources that did not appear in other murals commissioned by the project, including science fiction , vintage comics, Bollywood posters and South Asian iconography,” Forsha said. “We were excited about the wide range of ideas and narratives she could explore in commissioned work for our community. and we were certain that Chitra’s bold and exuberant imagery was unlike any other artwork in the Murals of La Jolla collection.”
In creating the new mural, Ganesh “did an extraordinary amount of research into the biodiversity of our region,” Forsha added. “Chitra’s project draws attention to something that was perhaps previously unknown to our viewers, which is that San Diego is home to one of the highest numbers of endangered species in the United States.”
“I hope the piece will start a conversation and cultivate awareness of other life forms that people might see. I hope it inspires people to take a closer look at what’s around them.
Ganesh said his work in a public place “gives people an opportunity to imagine other possibilities and ways to move forward. I think it can be something that people go through on a regular basis or with they engage directly or peripherally.I think public art has always been important, but more so during the pandemic since people are more outdoors.
Ganesh added that she was “super excited” to be part of Murals of La Jolla and that it was “an honor”.
The Murals of La Jolla program was established in 2010 by the La Jolla Community Foundation and is now overseen by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.
Currently, there are 16 murals in the city, funded solely by private donations. For more information, visit muralsoflajolla.com. ◆