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'Great Walls' for L.A. Neighborhoods : Art: In addition to Chinatown's first mural, five other resource center wall paintings have been completed this month.

July 26, 1991|SHAUNA SNOW | TIMES STAFF WRITER

* Alice Patrick's "Women Do Get Weary (But They Don't Give Up)," which pays tribute to the pride and courage of black women and features anonymous African-American "mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers" along with black personalities including Josephine Baker, Oprah Winfrey and Florence Griffith-Joyner (at the National Council of Negro Women building, 3720 West 54th St.);

* Ernesto de la Loza's "Resurrection of the Green Planet (or Tercera piedra desde el sol)," which the artist describes as a "socio-environmental-political-cultural piece" featuring elements such as an old medicine woman healing her daughter Earth and a desperate homeless man reaching out for help (at El Pavo Bakery, 2242 Brooklyn Ave., Boyle Heights).

Perhaps the most impressive of the murals, however, is Sandra Drinning's "The Living City," which brings together the city's diverse neighborhoods in an incredibly detailed pictorial documentary interwoven by a massive freeway system.

"I tried to capture what I saw in L.A., (which is) a mixture of different ethnic groups," said Drinning, 28, whose mural is on the west side of the HK Supermarket, 124 N. Western Ave. "Los Angeles is like a collage that's constantly moving in this huge stream of cars, which is represented by the freeways."

It took Drinning--who has shown her prismacolor drawings at galleries including Santa Monica's Boritzer/Gray and USC's Linhurst--six months to paint the 16x94-foot work, which is her first mural and, she says, her "first successful piece as a painter."

The work features various landmarks including Watts Towers, Olvera Street, Hollywood Bowl, Chinatown, Dodger Stadium and the Coliseum. While at first glance the whimsical buildings and freeway mazes might appear to be just another take-off on Frank Romero's car murals, closer scrutiny reveals Drinning's humor and sense of detail are entirely her own.

The mural includes hundreds of figures and other hilarious details that include a billboard promoting the mural and its "cast" in the form of a movie ad, a "Take-U in a Hurry Nowhere Service Ambulance" caught in rush-hour traffic, a "Ghostbusters" van chasing a Pac-Man ghost and a police officer chasing a nude runner.

"This part of the work changed; the little miniature portraits were not on the original plans for the mural," Drinning said. "But as I worked on the project I met so many people--a real cross section of characters--including the regulars that came by the area. So I decided to paint them all in the mural. . . . Later, I would see gang members, for instance, come back and point themselves out and be excited about being in there."

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