People Portraits: in creativity; performing; sports and fashion © Faith Ringgold 2009, Byzantine glass smalti, interior, Civic Center/Grand Park Station, Hill Street between First Street and Temple Street, Civic Center, Los Angeles CA
Photos : METRO © 2011 LACMTA
Ringgold designed 52 individual smalti (glass) mosaics at locations across four mezzanine walls. Each is a personification of creativity, performance, sports and fashion. Images include models walking the catwalk to boxers, baseball players and surfers frozen in the moment of their athletic skill, along with musicians playing and artists making their mark. 52 amateur and professional representations are illustrated in Ringgold’s signature style of line drawing a simplified figure in a solid, color-block background.
“The content will reflect the creative energy of the Civic Center area. Thus it will be color studies of people engaged in creative activities such as: art making, music, dance, performance, fashion modeling, etc.”
– Faith Ringgold
Artist and activist Faith Ringgold received the highest honours from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for their contributions to the arts. The Academy recognized Faith Ringgold with the Gold Medal for Painting for her work, which explores Civil Rights-era moments through painting, sculpture, and quilting, among other mediums. But the artist’s influence extends beyond the canvas: She has spent decades advocating for women of colour in the arts. In 1970, Ringgold, critic Michele Wallace, and other Ad Hoc Women Artists’ Committee members protested in front of the Whitney Museum of American Art every Sunday for four months ahead of that year’s biennial to demand 50% representation of female artists. The Academy inducted Ringgold as a member in 2021.