In addition to being a gorgeous mosaic with which to kick off my Mosaics Series, this also seems a particularly fitting image for this Monday morning news cycle (Bin Laden is Dead)… Call me naive (or idealistic) but it’s hard to stomach people cheering over killing (even if the person killed was a really bad guy).
I spotted this piece on the front of St. Elizabeth’s Church, which dates back to the late 1800’s, in the Fruitvale district of Oakland. It caught my eye both for its traditional mosaic technique (small shapes of colored glass arranged to portray something pictorial) and also for its more contemporary aspect (the inclusion of a real handgun, broken into pieces).
The piece was produced by the group Guns Into Art, based in San Francisco. In addition to working with local communities on violence prevention through youth classes and community events, often near the site of a gun-related death, the group actually encourages residents to turn in their guns to be fashioned into art, “transforming the negative power of violence into a positive, lasting memory.”
The gun included in the mosaic above is a 9mm Berreta pistol (the same pistol used by the U.S. Military, according to Guns Into Art). The mosaic is part of a series of gun related art at St. Elizabeth’s, coordinated by local resident Miguel Angel Sandoval who became involved with the Guns Into Art program after a friend was killed in a drive by shooting.
Much much more about mosaics coming in the next several posts… with lots of stunning Oaktown examples. Please stay tuned.