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Friday, October 31, 2014

Statue turns its back on Echo Park Lake

You would think that Echo Park’s Lady of the Lake statue – a 1930s sculpture formally known as Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles – would face in the direction of the lake.  Nope. Instead the  female figure, with arms raised and palms pointed outward,  looks north away from the newly restored lake, leaving her backside and rump (top photo) to face the water.

bottomoftheblogiconAs part of the nearly completed clean up and renovation of the lake and park, the statue was returned to her original spot at the tip of a peninsula that juts into the northern part of the lake.  This where the statue had long stood until sometime in the mid 1980s when the statue, damaged and in need of repair, was put in a storage yard and a cinder block pump house built in the same location.  When the statue was finally restored in the late 1990s, the decision was made to install the Lady of Lake in a new location, on the east side of the park, where the figure faced the water. The closure and rebuilding of the lake provided an opportunity to get rid of that pump house and move the Lady of the Lake back its original position and flip it around to face away from the water.

That did not sit right, however,   with some residents,  who argued that it would make more sense if the Lady of the Lake actually faced the lake. Even residents like Stephen Roullier, who provided a photo that showed the statue in its original spot facing away from the water, could see their point. Roullier, whose home overlooks the lake, told The Eastsider in early 2012:

On one hand, I think that if the statue is going back in its original location, it should face north away from the lake for reasons of historical accuracy and tradition. On the other hand, if there’s enough community sentiment for having her face the lake, I don’t think I’d be upset. When the statue was in its previous location (by the boathouse) she faced the lake and that made sense to my eyes.

But, on Friday, as city officials gathered near the statue to reveal the date  when the park would reopen to the public,  the logic of having the  Lady of Lake’s backside facing  the water made more sense.  By turning away from Echo Park Lake,  the regal statue gazes upon visitors as they they walk down the peninsula  to the lake, with the water, fountain and boat house serving as a dramatic back  drop and photo op.  It’s a welcome change of direction for the Lady of the Lake.

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8 comments

  1. EchoParkNewbie

    Seems like the current placement makes sense as the statue appears to welcome visitors to EPL..and does seem to provide some sweet photo ops with the lake and fountains, hills and downtown in the background

  2. Facing the water probably made for better viewing when she was located by the boathouse, when most people only passed by in front of her.

    Now that she’s near the tip of the peninsula, turning her away from the water is not only historically accurate (and perhaps respects Ada May Sharpless, the artist’s, original intentions?), but conveys the sense that the Lady is OF the Lake rather than someone looking at the Lake. After all, she was depicted in Arthurian legends as emerging from the water to hand or retrieve the sword Excalibur, to or from the hero on the shore.

    She looks pretty good this way, too!

    Just wishing they’d planted some thorny rose bushes around the base of the pedestal to keep people from climbing the statue and breaking off her hands.

  3. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL THE MAMAS’…

  4. I CANT WAIT FOR THE PARK TO RE-OPEN..******LOTTUS FESTIVAL***

  5. “you would think” that the Eastsider could try not to be a shit-stirrer over the historical location of a statue

  6. Not enuf sleep, ‘Stirrer? Too long in traffic? IMHO and obviously not yours was keenly interested in this particular item. ‘Course it’s because I grew up at Echo Park Lake and am quite the glad boy our Lady is returned to the point.

    It was news to me that her orig position faced north, so that’s valuable info right there. If you care.

  7. Looks nice.

    Just a matter of time until the Latino gangs in the area will ruin this gem again. They tag and destroy everything in echo park. Lets enjoy it while it lasts.

  8. David Rockello

    I am very impressed with how everything has turned out… Broken fingers were the problem before; the idea of protective rose bushes sounds like a good investment before any vandalism starts.

    I had suggested that the Lady of the Lake be put on a lockable turntable so the statue could face the lake or face the event area as needed but the folks in charge were happy to keep with historical accuracy over artistic freedom and a possible revenue source from film companies that could have payed for the privilege of getting the shot that they wanted in there movies without doing any corrections in post.

    Now lets see how those Lotus grow back year after year.

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