Thursday, February 09, 2017

Huge Virgin of Guadalupe mural makes impact at Inland church

The vibrant, 35-foot-tall mural has caused passersby to stop, cross themselves, and take pictures of the massive image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, painted on the side of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in the Home Gardens community between Riverside and Corona.

It’s been two weeks in the making, and Mexican artist Antonio Martínez Guzmán, on Thursday, Feb. 2, was painting the finishing details, adding red roses and decorating the virgin’s mantle. He leaves for Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Church members think it’s one of the biggest images of the Virgin of Guadalupe in California. (The Virgin of Guadalupe, the mother of Jesus, is one of the names for the Virgin Mary.)

“It’s a monumental image,” said Guzmán, who is based in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

The mural shows the Virgin in her classic pose, with a downward gaze as Juan Diego, a Mexican Indian, kneels beside her. She is pictured with a blue mantle covered with stars, amid an aqua blue background.

Seeped in Catholic tradition, the Virgin of Guadalupe, for some, helps clear the innocent of wrongdoing and heals the sick. For others, she’s a symbol of the fight against community injustices.

“This image has been very powerful,” Guzmán said in Spanish. “Everyone stops to see her, to contemplate.”

Guzmán, who studied art at the Universidad de Guadalajara, was brought on by Corpus Christi Catholic Church member Raul Lopez, who had a family connection with the artist.

Guzmán has won numerous awards, and most recently, he was recognized by Guadalajara’s Secretary of Culture with the Jorge Martínez award for painting.

The church paid for the art supplies, and Guzmán volunteered to paint the mural, Lopez said.

“I think this mural will bring a force of spirituality,” said Lopez.

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