"Lady Artesia" by Sonia Romero
Installed 2017 at the Artesia County of Los Angeles Library
Designed by Sonia Romero, Fabricated by California Pottery and Tile
The silk screened ceramic tile composition features blue and white vignettes of people surrounding a prominent central figure. In reference to blue and white Portuguese and Spanish Azulejo tile, Mexican Talevera tile, and Chinese and Middle Eastern porcelain wares, Romero chose the reoccurring blue and white ceramic color composition to represent the city’s intense diversity and to highlight Dutch and Portuguese farmers who settled Artesia and the surrounding areas into flourishing dairy districts.
The central female figure is meant to embody Artesian well water—the primary natural resource for early Artesian farming and dairy settlers. The water scroll motif woven throughout the pattern flows from the figure, underscoring the importance aquifer water played in the city’s growth. Each scene within the pattern highlights cultural landmarks, symbolic elements and traditions celebrated by generations of Artesians. A 1950s Artesian farmer and cow stand pictured in front of a barn notes the historic and contemporary significance of the dairy industry. Students who attend the weekly homework program at the library are posed in front of the original Artesia School House. Portuguese folk dancers are gathered in front of the iconic Artesia Divino Espirito Santo (D.E.S.) Hall gazebo. Other scenes feature individuals and families Romero met and photographed at cultural events, such as the city’s Annual International Fair and Portuguese Festa. Artesia’s eclectic mix of cultures, industries and community events is indicative of the city’s roots and how its residents continue to shape the city’s identity.