On June 5th, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was shot and assassinated in the food-service pantry next to the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel after having won the California Primary. The Ambassador Hotel, located on Wilshire Boulevard at mid-city, was converted into the new RFK LEARNING CENTER for K-12, and we were commissioned to design two murals in the ballroom where RFK gave his last speech. The historic RFK Community Schools campus is the home to six autonomous pilot schools in one of the state’s most densely populated immigrant neighborhoods in central Los Angeles.
The concept of the panels is that they are a sequential work of art.
The intention for Tiny Ripples of Hope is to embody that sense of optimism–and hope–that surrounded Robert Kennedy’s pursuits. He was giving hope to anti-apartheid student activists who had felt alone in their quest for racial equality, and he showed them how their efforts were connected to other civil rights movements underway around the world.
Seeing Through Other’s Eyes represents the compassion he had for the main problems he thought were affecting the world. Here, a lotus blossom determines the composition of the mural both formally and conceptually. Each petal represents one of the issues facing society that Robert F. Kennedy deemed most important: Environment, Intolerance, Poverty, Education, Health, and War. We see these things through different eyes; the eyes of a soldier, a woman and her ailing mother, a poverty stricken child. At the center of the blossom sit two enlightened men: Kennedy breaking bread with César Chávez after Chávez’s 36-Day Fast for Life. Juan Romero, the busboy who cradled Kennedy after he was shot, is depicted to the left of Kennedy. While one million people march in the background lead by Dolores Huertas, a legendary figure in the labor movement in this country. She co-founded the United Farmworkers of America, which plays a major role in organizing opposition to proposed immigration reform legislation.
Through a Cintiq we designed the murals using photographs as reference, printing the seamless mural in one shot, and we gold leafed it once it was installed with 10k and 14k gold.