by Mel Vera Cruz


55′ in width and 15′ in height, plus a shared shape of the central staircase, which measures 20′ in width,  with artwork covering 31 steps, on  each rise, which are each 6″ in height

Artist’s Statement:

The Bay Area has always been an incubator for new ideas. It has been a place for revolutions and innovation ever since in art, music and science and the reason for this I think is because of its tolerance and inclusiveness. I know this because I felt welcome when I migrated here from the Philippines back in 1995.

When people get along and are free to think, it becomes an incubator for new ideas because there are no barriers. It becomes like a fertile soil so that minds can go beyond the status quo and that’s when things start to happen. When a mind is tolerant, it creates intelligence that results into balance. These are my main subjects for this mural because these things are what the city of San Francisco represents.

The first thing that came to my mind about this concept is a seed. Seed is a metaphor for the starting point or origin of all creation just like a foundation of a building. It represents potential, trust, hope, nourishment, sacred, earthiness, initiation, and reproduction. Everyone becomes a farmer that scatters seeds across the field of life and as a result, these seeds bear fruit at harvest time. It may be the smallest but once grown, it becomes a tree that all living things can benefit from. It inspires generosity, connection, healing, and forgiveness. It is the alpha and the omega, life and death, nothing and everything.

Discipline is the opposite polarity of creativity. When the left and the right brain becomes balanced, any individual can become as unique as a flower because they are the source of creation just like male/female, yin/yang that breeds innovation.

About the Symbols I Used

It is important for humans to be physically and mentally connected to the universe because each of us is a representation of it. The symbols I used like two fishes swimming in opposite directions are metaphors for transcendence. A connection to a higher ideal because all our actions affect all the elements. As above so below. We are the microcosm that affects the macrocosm.

The heart with wings at the center can be interpreted like the seed because our actions start from our hearts. Humans have five limbs just like a star that means earth, water, air and fire. The 5th is the mind or the spirit that animates the four elements which you can also find in the mural

The feather represents the native tribes that were here before us. You can find the colors of the rainbow to represent the LGBTQ community.

I used Filipino icons because that is who I am. They are my feet and my foundation. I put a black and white Bulul (Rice Gods) on the scale that means fire and water with the brooms called walis tingting made out of the center of coconut leaves and walis tambo. They are hard (walis tingting) which represents the male/fire and soft (walis tambo) that represents female/water. Filipinos understand these brooms also symbolize that we are more powerful when bonded together.

The dogs have deep meaning because they are the guardians of heaven and hell in Hindu mythology. They represent supreme reality. The reason

I like using Vedic science is because the Philippines was influenced by it before anybody else.

The colorful patterns at the bottom and on the side of the stairs are a kind of weaving called Hablon that comes from the center of the Philippines called the Visayas. The patterns on the stairs are Hinabis (weaving) that comes from different regions of the Philippines.

by Dee Jae Pa’este


55′ in width and 15′ in height, plus a shared shape of the central staircase, which measures 20′ in width,  with artwork covering 31 steps, on  each rise, which are each 6″ in height

Artist’s Statement:

The importance of recognizing our shared journey is also just as important as recognizing our unique differences as a community. With the idea and symbolism behind the Woven Kultura mural, we are all connected and interwoven by the thread of living, thriving and coexisting in the city of San Francisco together. There are so many cultures that can be seen on the faces of the people, in the food that is cooked within the area, and on the walls of the city buildings. The visual elements that surround us tell a story and show us what has come before us, so that we can look back upon and be inspired and proud of our roots and humble beginnings. The patterns, women, animals and nature pays honor to many of the ancestors of the current community that the SOMA District is home to.

The deep roots of the native indigenous land we now call home, lays a foundation for so many groups and ethnicities to share space and build upon, which is why the SOMA District is so rich in energy and Kultura.

From the past history of textile factories with newly arrived immigrants working and weaving together clothing for a bustling and growing population of workers in the early life of San Francisco. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of the warehouses there served as the home to the city’s budding underground rave, punk, and indie music scene, and the boombox with music and thread flowing out pays tribute to that history. To the strong connection of Filipino immigrants that settled and worked in the area and shared their culture, music, art and food with one another which is now the Filipino Heritage District.

Many of the symbols, woven patterns, and elements pay respect to the vibrant and always growing light and creativity that fills the area, in hope that this piece itself adds to that aura and presence of the neighborhood.

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