Miniature in the Mail #18: "On Cesar Chavez"

"On Cesar Chavez," 5" x 5", oil on panel
If you were to give a bunch of bright citizens the assignment of creating a collage or mural to reflect their city, its aspirations, roots, people, fights, and achievements, the images they hit on could, or should, become the street names of that city.

One reason why Florence, where I've just come back from living, is such a coveted city is because every street fires the imagination. There's Via Madonna della Tosse ("Madonna of the Cough"), where mothers came to pray for their children who had whooping cough; Via Buffalmacco and Via Calandrino, named after comic characters in The Decameron who horsed around in those areas, just off of Via Boccaccio, after the author of the book; and Via Alessandro Volta, Via Galileo Galilei, Via Michelangelo Buonarroti, etc.

In Toronto, I was overjoyed to see a version of a Spadina Ave. sign written Ishpadinaa, in the original Ojibwa.

In L.A., I came across the scene of today's painting on Cesar Chavez, after the great labour leader and civil rights activist who founded the National Farm Workers Association. It brought me right back to my university days, learning about the history of Latin America, questioning the food I was eating, and "sí, se puede."

For more on my Miniature in the Mail project, see