‘Surfing Madonna’ graffiti gets Calif. beach city talking
The mosaic that's become known as the ‘Surfing Madonna.’ Credit: Ruby White (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The mosaic that's become known as the ‘Surfing Madonna.’ Credit: Ruby White (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Corrected June 9, 2011 at 8:57 MDT. Removes description of St. Juan Diego being on the surfboard.

A mosaic of the Virgin Mary riding a surfboard in Encinitas, Calif. has won admiration from many residents and prompted some concerns about whether the display is irreverent.

But city officials may have the last word: they say the “Surfing Madonna” was installed illegally and has to be taken down.

The artwork shows the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a cresting blue wave. Her hands are clasped in prayer and her green robe billows from the wind. 

One side of the mosaic reads: “Save the Ocean.”

The 10-by-10-foot rock and glass mosaic was affixed to a wall under a train bridge in April by unidentified artists disguised as construction workers.

Thousands of people have come to see the work. Some brought flowers and lit votive candles. Supporters have created Twitter and Facebook accounts to support the work, calling her the “Surfing Madonna.”

The work is technically graffiti that should be removed, according to the city law.

Encinitas Mayor James Bond said the mosaic’s use of religious imagery has drawn some complaints in the southern California beach town.

Some say the artwork blurs the line between church and state while others consider it sacrilegious to depict Mexico’s patron saint surfing.

“We can't just go around saying, `Well, when someone slaps up something nice, we like it and it can stay.' Or, ‘Oh, we don't like it, so we've got to take it down,'” Bond told the Associated Press. “We can't do that with art because people always love and hate the same piece of art. So it's a slippery slope.”

He expects moving the mosaic will be costly but local businesses are raising funds to cover the city’s expenses and several people have offered to buy the work.

Art consultant Andrew Smith said removing the mosaic without destroying it will not be easy and might not even be possible.

Smith is part of the team evaluating the work, which the city hired at a cost of just under $2,000, the local newspaper The North County Times reports.

The mosaic appears to have been extensively bolted or screwed into place and not simply affixed with a high-strength glue, as initially suspected.

Workers reported that they saw a name under the mosaic’s colorful glass but they didn’t know if it belonged to the artist.

Those who created and installed the mosaic have not come forward.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27