The shape, history and beauty of hands and the sacred objects they hold provides a glimpse into rich and unexpected personal stories from the neighborhood surrounding Mariachi Plaza Station. Highlighting historic and contemporary stories of Latinx, Jewish and Japanese makers and workers from Boyle Heights, the artwork features an eclectic mix of objects that intertwine the artist’s personal connection to Boyle Heights with those of individuals from the neighborhood.
Legacies and cornerstones of community struggle and resilience are told through objects of significance that were shared by community members and photographed at interactive workshops held in collaboration with the Boyle Heights Farmers Market and Self Help Graphics & Art. Painterly brush strokes used to create the hands contrast with the careful, precise line work of the sacred objects which were translated from the original photographs into delicate hand cut paper pieces. A landscape of monarch butterflies nods to underlying themes of migration and floats on top of a vibrant turquoise background reminiscent of oil cloth commonly found in neighborhood homes, visually uniting the mural’s composition of hands and objects. These combined artistic techniques and compositional elements underscore the playfulness of Hecho a Mano (translation: “hand-made”).
“There is a certain homemade and handmade quality that has been created by generations of people raising families and creating livelihoods in the neighborhood. I wanted to capture and honor this quality through the metaphor of the hand and by painting this mural by hand.”
About the Artist
SONIA ROMERO (b. 1980, Los Angeles) is known for her dynamic combination of printmaking, paper-cutting, painting and sculpture. Calling upon her own experiences and perspectives as a multiracial person, Romero creates work that reflects the cultural diversity found in the communities of Los Angeles and themes relating to the universal connectedness within humanity. Her distinctive paper-cut shapes and patterns can be found in steel, tile, or paint in one of her many large-scale permanent installations in notable locations such as Little Tokyo, Mariachi Plaza and MacArthur Park Metro Stations and the Artesia County Public Library. Romero work has been acquired by Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. She studied at Rhode Island School of Design.