Said to be the biggest Tonalmachiotl in the world, this version of the Aztec Calendar sits at the entry way to the City College of San Francisco Mission Campus.
Tonalmachiotl is called the Aztec Calendar, the Sunstone or Piedra del Sol. Scholars believe that pre-conquest Mesoamerican cultures conceived of time as circular…. [Mesoamericans] therefore thought they could predict the future by recording events from the past. Using their calendric system and mathematics, they could look both back in time to when they believed the world began, and infinitely forward.
This colorful 27-foot Aztec Calendar hovering over the entrance to the campus on Valencia Street is constructed of some 660 ceramic tiles painted mostly bright blue and orange. The calendar is hand-engraved and painted and was commissioned for $200,000 to two Tucson artists, Alex Garza and Carlos Valenzuela.
Excerpt from a Tucson Weekly Article: Garza was born in Cristal, an epicenter at one time for Mexican-American civil rights in Texas. Garza’s family moved well before Jose Angel Gutierrez, a founder of La Raza Unida, and other activists changed the course for Mexican-Americans in south Texas.
The Garzas found discrimination up north when they settled in Des Plaines, Ill., where they worked tomato and onion fields near what was becoming O’Hare Airport. Garza combines matter-of-fact recollections with humor, including being a champion in downing burgers from the first McDonald’s.
His and other Mexican-American families were pushed off the main streets, and Garza was intent on exploring. He did in Chicago in the heady late 1960s. He studied and trained and gravitated not toward galleries but to neighborhoods.
He now teaches at Las Artes.
Carlos Valenzuela also teaches at Las Artes, and other programs encouraging youth out of crime and into education.