The three panels shown are just a part of a series of 18 displayed in the courtyard of Serra Plaza. The 18 panels show the life and journey of Junipero Serra from infancy in Spain to maturity in San Juan Capistrano. They are located in the alcoves of the courtyard. Each panel shows a description of the image and is crafted with 6-inch tiles arranged in 2.5′ x 2.5′ panels. Junipero Serra was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015.
About the Artists
Louisa Cooper is credited with the research for the narratives that accompany each panel traveling to Spain to study Serra’s early life. She was born and raised in Honolulu. She divided her time between Hawaii and San Juan Capistrano with some time in Switzerland. She says, “Fr. Martin who was the pastor of the Mission parish at the time suggested a story of Fr. Serra be portrayed in tile panels.”
Her research enabled Santa Barbara artist Barbara Beale to create watercolor studies of the life of Fr. Serra which became the model for these 18 panels. They were installed in Serra Plaza and after a brief exhibition in the Mission, have been there ever since.