Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hadrian's Wall. The Great Wall of China. The Berlin Wall. Michael Chertoff's Wall. Rufino Loya Reyes' Wall.

(NOTE: Not all walls are great. But last weekend I discovered one that is.)

A week ago last Saturday I left the house rather early to catch some photos of the two Pastors for Peace buses carrying volunteers, equipment and supplies to Cuba.

Having attended a potluck dinner for this courageous band of volunteers the previous evening and taken some pictures, I inadvertently deleted them when I got home.

My effort to return and recapture those images the following morning also failed. That's because, when I arrived where they had spent the night, I discovered they were gone!

Here instead, are the serendipitous pictures I returned home with instead.

(all photos by Dada, enlarged by clicking)

These photos are of a house next to the freeway. I've passed it for years, always meaning to exit the 'road of rush' to pause and get a closer look. Saturday I not only finally did that, but I had the fortune to encounter its creator, Rufino Loya Rivas, in the act of touching up his little piece of artwork.

Rufino Loya Reyes, touching up the wall around his home. From speaking with him as he worked,
I learned this is a project he's been working on for more than 26 years! Note the size brush he is
using. It's no more than a quarter inch wide to paint the intricacies of this very long wall.

What follows are some of the details of Rivas' wall. Every shrine, tribute or niche is immaculately maintained in excellent condition. Also note in photos where his home appears in the background, the decorum is not limited to just the wall. It extends to the house as well!

I love the way he has integrated the chain link fence into and as part of the wall.

Tribute to the victims of 9/11 with freeway in the background.

Rivas told me a Mexican television station had featured a story on his creation. The El Paso Times has also run a story on it and the University of Texas El Paso gave it special recognition.

As I departed Rufino Loya Rivas and his wall, I thought of Simon Rodia. Those familiar with Los Angeles' Watts Towers have heard of Italian born Rodia. He's the folk artist who spent 30 years of his life (from 1921 to 1955) constructing towers in his yard as a "tribute to his adopted country and a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible."

Rivas certainly has that same spirit. It manifests in a very great wall.


D.K. Raed said...

There is so much detail here, it's a bit overwhelming. Kind of reminds me of an intricate wedding cake, on a vastly larger scale. I can see where this would be the labor of a lifetime.

Thanks for these beautiful photos of a place I would've never known existed! There is that one plaque, however, that quotes "Jesus said INTO her", which has me thinking about a fanciful & probably unintended side effect.

eProf2 said...

Beautiful photos. Great that you were able to visit with Sr. Rivas as he was working on his masterpiece. Here in the Casa Grande older sections of town you can see many "shrines" to the Virgin Guadalupe and lost love ones. Still, the scale of Sr. Rivas' work is incredible. Thanks for the post.

enigma4ever said...

this is is Soooo beautiful....and it is funny but I was thinking of the WATTS art when I saw the top photo....really an intricate cake or sandcastle....and even though it is so "busy", there is something soothing about it....

thank you for sharing

( I loved that you got to visit and talk with makes it so much more real when you can talk to the artist....I hope his neighbors appreciate him....)

dada said...

d.k. - eprof (welcome back, BTW, hope you had a great Fourth) and enigma...those of you who were home over the weekend may have seen it promo-ed, but eprof may not have. Referring to the following:

(This is the listing for the local PBS station for this coming Tuesday evening. You may want to check the schedule of yours if interested.)

10 P.M. (13, 49) THE BALLAD OF ESEQUIEL HERNÁNDEZ In 1997, 18-year-old Esequiel Hernández Jr. was shot and killed by United States Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexico border when he was mistaken for a drug runner while tending his family’s goats with a .22 rifle. With his death, he became the first American citizen killed by the military on native soil since the Kent State shootings in 1970. Tommy Lee Jones narrates this “P.O.V.” documentary, in which Hernández’s parents and friends, the Marines on patrol and investigators discuss the young man’s death and the dangers of militarizing the border.
Re Sr. Rivas, I hope to go back another day and, hopefully, catch him out working on his wall again.

I would have liked to have talked more, but I think we may have had a language communication problem: my poor Spanish and his English (which was much better than my Spanish).

I don't THINK our dearth of communication was because I had dressed to be in the presence of the Cuban caravanistas instead, i.e., I had on my "Che" shirt.

eProf2 said...

Thanks, Dada, for the heads-up on the PBS documentary. I'm going over the DVR and record it after I get this message sent.

We had a good time camping. I've posted our weekend story for all (four of us "band of bloggers") to read.

It's hard to say exactly what Sr. Rivas thought of your Che shirt. With his religious wall, it is probably a good bet he's a fairly conservative gentleman.

I hardly talk politics with my wife's large family (Mexican Americans and shades of rainbow) as almost all of them are way to the right of me and support John McCain, and worse Jon Kyle's anti-immigration, hardly veiled anti-Hispanic, pro-profiling ("I don't have anything to hide"), pro-war stances. Most voted for George Bush, too. They love to bait me, but I learned a long time ago to just let it slide and once in a great while get a zinger or two in to push a hot button here and there.

Enjoyed your posts upon returning to the computer last night and today. What's a day without Dada? LOL!

Fran said...

And then the people from the city came & said, well sir we appreciate your life's work, but about the building code violations.....

Izellah said...

Good for people to know.