Towering Logan Heights Mural Promotes COVID-19 Awareness

The mural, which the artist titled “Stop The Spread,” is part of the state of California's Your Actions Save Lives campaign

NBC 7's Omari Fleming spoke to the artist about the message behind the mural.

The brightly colored mural on the Bread and Salt art gallery in Logan Heights paints the picture of a woman's face.

“It’s a shroud of flowers because flowers are usually given as an act of caring or love to others," explained Tatiana Oritz Rubio, the artist who painted the mural.

She explained how covering the woman's face with cempasuchil, or Mexican marigolds, is both a sign of respect to the dead and living.

Photos: New Mural Helps Provide Covid-19 Awareness

“I chose to focus on the act of covering ourselves as an act of love to others. Because I kept thinking through the pandemic, this action wasn’t just to protect ourselves, but anyone we indirectly come in contact with," Ortiz Rubio said. “I’m using flowers called cempasuchil. We use them in Mexico for Day of the Dead, mostly, to honor those we’ve lost.”

The mural she’s calling “Stop The Spread” is part of the state of California's Your Actions Save Lives campaign to raise awareness and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Rubio Ortiz's mural was painted in one of the communities hardest hit by COVID-19, but the 40-foot tall, 30-foot wide piece of art is visible from distance, and even as you travel Interstate 5. And that's no coincidence, according to Ortiz Rubio, who was born in San Diego, raised in Mexico and attended the University of San Diego.

“I thought it was a great place that would find a connection with all of us," she said.

When asked if art can really help promote mask-wearing and help people stay safe from COVID-19, Ortiz Rubio said, “I think so. I think art is part of what creates a culture… It allows someone to imagine and experience a different possibility."

Time lapse video shows Ortiz Rubio with the help of an assistant working on the mural.

Though it took the University of San Diego professor three weeks to finish, she  plans to make sure the work of art  changes with the times.. once the pandemic is over.

“I will alter it. Lower the flowers and expose the face. She'll still be holding the flowers. Almost like smelling them and offering them off to everyone," she said.

Symbolic of breathing new air, a new hope and also of sharing the joy of new possibilities, explained the artist who plans to use the mural later this year to help commemorate the Day of the Dead.

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