Man of Fire, San Jose
Commissioned By: City of San José Public Art Program
On a paseo between two buildings, you’ll find a long table – it’s public art!
Kim Yasuda’s site-specific work honors Dr. Ernesto Galarza, a scholar, activist, community organizer and civic leader. The table is made of cast bronze and the objects on the table, such as a hat, book, and farm tools were created with inlaid bronze. The large library table is the “centerpiece” of the work, and references Dr. Ernesto Galarza’s interests in academics and labor organizing.
The importance of family to Galarza is represented by the banquet size of the library table and the arrangement of the photos and texts. The single chair at the head of the table is bronze with a wooden seat facing west towards Cesar Chavez Plaza representing his balance as a field worker and scholar. Lesser known than the table and chair: there are paved Ribbons of Terrazzo, which have bronze texts in Spanish and English with personal notes about Dr. Galarza from family, friends, and colleagues.
“Man on Fire” captures the influence of place and the individual on each other. Dr. Galarza’s work was framed in the geography of the San Joaquin Valley and the division between white and Mexican farm workers. His work also transformed the place from one of division to cooperation that laid the groundwork for the introduction of Mexican history to the schools. “Man on Fire” resists the separation of place and the individual to show the symbiotic relationship at work and his role in the formation of both.
After you experience the history of the neighborhoods and the urban environment on our walking tour, you can visit all of the vibrant, rich downtown San José public artwork with maps from “Public Art San José Downtown,” including other public art initiatives Downtown Doors, Art Box Project San José, and Street Life. Thank you for joining us on this walk. We look forward to hearing from you and recommend checking back often on the website to see other walking tours in the future: https://www.sjsu.edu/ha-public-art-tour/index.php
(Description by Caitlin Pambid, Art 174, Fall 2021, SJSU)
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in San Jose. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Man of Fire on Map
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