L.A. Cathedral Tapestry Designer to Speak at Westmont

January 15, 2003

John Nava, the painter who designed the tapestries in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, will discuss the cathedral tapestries 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in Westmont’s Porter Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

For the cathedral, Nava created 25 tapestry panels that depict 135 men, women and children of faith, ranging in age from 9 months to 90 years. Towering an average of 10 feet each, together they form a “Communion of Saints.”

“The idea was to surround the people who are in the church, people in the congregation, with images of these saints,” Nava told The Tidings, the weekly newspaper of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Nava said he worked day and night with Flanders Tapestry in Belgium to create the huge panels of woven cotton, ranging in height from 14 to 21 feet.

“My idea was to focus on the humanity of the saints,” he said. “I wanted people to look up on the walls and be able to see people who look like themselves. I thought the best way to do that was not to adopt a highly stylized, distractive style of drawing, but rather to do very, very specific portraits of real people.”

A painter, Nava had never worked in tapestries before, but won the commission because of the clarity of his vision for the panels.

Nava’s talk is sponsored by the Westmont Art Center. A study of one of Nava’s paintings is included in the current exhibit at Reynolds Gallery, “The Art of Devotion.”

For more information, call the Art Center at (805) 565-6162.