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New La Jolla mural aims for ‘Resurgence’ in awareness of different species

"Resurgence” by artist Chitra Ganesh is on view at 7540 Fay Ave. in La Jolla.
(Lynda Forsha)

The latest installation in the Murals of La Jolla program is artist Chitra Ganesh’s first large-scale public work on the West Coast.

“Resurgence,” at 7540 Fay Ave., is all about connection, the artist says. Specifically, our connection to other species.

“San Diego is one of the most biodiverse places, and it’s important to put our attention on future life cycles of the environment and the complex, interwoven relationships between the other species around us,” Ganesh said. “That’s what the planet’s survival depends on.”

The mural depicts a mythically inspired, four-armed figure emerging from the ocean wearing a gas mask. The figure is surrounded by animals and plant life that either are endangered or at one time faced endangerment and went extinct or were saved. The downtown San Diego skyline and vibrant sunset colors help provide the backdrop.

“The figure is communing with different species,” Ganesh said. “I hope the piece starts a conversation and cultivates awareness of the other life forms people might see. I hope it prompts people to look more closely at what is around them.”

The mural “puts forth a dual narrative where the expansive landscape vacillates between dystopia and utopia, reminding us of our agency during a crucial turning point in the future health of our planet,” according to a news release.

The figure also alludes to mermaids, drawing from Ganesh’s interest in science fiction and graphic pictorials. The New York native works across a multitude of media. While rooted in painting and drawing, her work has grown to include animation, comics, mixed media, video and sculpture.

Chitra Ganesh is the artist for “Resurgence," the latest installation in the Murals of La Jolla program.
(Margarita Corporan)

Murals of La Jolla Executive Director Lynda Forsha said the program’s Art Advisory Committee was attracted to the mixed-media aspect of Ganesh’s work.

“We all agreed that Chitra would bring something entirely new to the project since her multimedia work ... draws from sources that have not appeared in other murals commissioned by the project, including science fiction, vintage comics, Bollywood posters and South Asian iconography,” Forsha said. “We were excited about the wide range of ideas and narratives she might explore in a commissioned work for our community and we were certain that Chitra’s bold and exuberant imagery was unlike any other artwork in the Murals of La Jolla collection.”

In creating the new mural, Ganesh “did an extraordinary amount of research on the biodiversity of our region,” Forsha added. “Chitra’s project brings attention to something maybe previously unknown to our viewers, which is that San Diego is home to one of the highest numbers of endangered species in the United States.”

“I hope the piece starts a conversation and cultivates awareness of the other life forms people might see. I hope it prompts people to look more closely at what is around them.”

— Chitra Ganesh

Ganesh said having her work in a public setting “gives people an opportunity to imagine other possibilities and ways to move forward. I think it can be something that people pass regularly or engage with directly or peripherally. I think public art has always been important, but more so during the pandemic since people are outside more.”

Ganesh added that she’s “super excited” to be part of Murals of La Jolla and that it’s “an honor.”

The Murals of La Jolla program was created in 2010 by the La Jolla Community Foundation and is now overseen by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

Currently there are 16 murals around town, funded solely by private donations. For more information, visit muralsoflajolla.com. ◆