Man of Fire, San Jose

Man of Fire, San Jose

Artist: Kim Yasuda
Year: 1998
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:

(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 Apple 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.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Man of Fire on Map

Sight Name: Man of Fire
Sight Location: San Jose, USA (See walking tours in San Jose)
Sight Type: Statue/Public Art
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Jose, California

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Jose is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
San Jose Downtown Walking Tour

San Jose Downtown Walking Tour

San Jose is California's third-largest city and the second-largest city in Northern California. From 1849 to 1851, San Jose served as the state's first capital, which is still a local source of pride. The city has formally incorporated in 1850 and has been a center of innovation from the late 19th century, starting with agriculture and food processing.

During World War II, several...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
San Jose Public Art Walking Tour

San Jose Public Art Walking Tour

This walking tour, “Public Art as Resistance in San José,” highlights the history of resistance and public art in downtown San José and begins on the urban university campus, San José State University. Starting from the first two works of art on campus, you’ll find that these 12 works of public art are among many in this area. However, this particular walking tour considers how San...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 Km or 3.7 Miles