Tempe Roots

Tempe Roots


Acrylic on Canvas – 36″ x 24″
Oliverio Balcells 2012

With this piece called “Tempe Roots” I’m representing the ancient history of the city of Tempe starting with the Hohokam culture making honor to their native place and for being the builders of the water canals that have a direct connection with the Rio Salado.

The Hohokam are represented by their own petroglyphs and by the classic Toltec symbols of the corn, beans and squash. The concentrical circles represent their world and this symbol is where the water of the Rio Salado comes from.

The next important image are the three Mexican farmers that dug out the irrigation canals and built new ones to carry Salt River water to their fields to supply food for the Fort McDowell and mining towns. They founded the town called San Pablo east of Tempe Butte.

The main image is the Tempe Butte representing the unique characteristic of the city; this one is covered with images of the Hohokam’s petroglyphs including the A for the Arizona State University.

The sun comes from the classic Mixtec cultural images with its original colors that reflect the Valley of the Sun.

The cactus plants and the rattlesnake from the bottom are part of the desert’s vegetation that complements the whole concept of the place.

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