Sanarte: Diversity's Pathway (mosaic / mural)

What is Sanarte?

A suite of four murals, the double helix DNA strands and cementitious tile walkway celebrate and symbolize diversity within the concept of “unity” and the notion that dualities promote a holistic, vibrant and ever-changing world.

1000 square feet of tile mosaic mural at UCSF Medical Center, 400 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco. Juana Alicia©2005, All Rights Reserved.



More information on the artist and the mosaic at UCSF

Juana Alicia’s SANARTE: Diversity’s Pathway “represents healing traditions worldwide, community cooperation, the internal work we do to heal
ourselves as well as the social and natural movements that have brought about diversity, with a focus on the special history of UCSF.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Juana moved to the Bay Area in 1973 and works in a variety of media as a muralist, illustrator,
print maker, and painter. She is best known for large-scale murals, particularly in San Francisco and Central America that are infused with
social, political, and spiritual themes.

Juana was selected through the efforts of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Diversity to celebrate the diversity at UCSF. The murals are
the result of in-depth historical research and design development, in dialogue with students, staff, and community members.”

Art & Culture SF - Diversity at UCSF



A Deeper Look - Mosaic Imagery

This is information based on what Black Caucus founders and legendary members have noted so far. More information is always welcome.


Senarte Mural - Top left mural, doctor listening to heartbeart of child

Photo from Juana Alicia - Portfolio: Sanarte


1 - Top Left Mural:

On the left side, it looks like a woman is being blessed with a leaf,
through spiritual or shamanic healing, and there is a feather which is of indigenous significance and symbolism. There is a Black female doctor
with locks using a stethoscope to check the heartbeat of a young girl.
The young girl has on a red shirt with a graphic of a six pointed star
in the sun, which is either the Star of David or a shakra symbol?

On the right side, the man in the suit and blue tie is the first and only
Black Chancellor of UCSF, Haile T. Debas with a globe behind him
representing international healthcare.
Below him, there is a Latina woman in profile receiving acupuncture in the

The image of lizards connected at the stomach is an Adinkra symbol of
democracy and unity (FuntunfunefuDenkyemfunefu (siamese crocodiles)).
The Siamese crocodiles share one stomach, yet they fight over food. This
popular symbol is a reminder that infighting and tribalism is harmful to
all who engage in it. Inclusion is more powerful and effective than division.

2 - Top right mural:

“Champion of Diversity” is written on the woman’s red shirt.

“Janitor’s Demand Justicia E  Igualdad” (Justice & Equality) is what it says on the banner they are holding. This could be representing both Black & Latinx service workers as there were mostly Black and Brown people in facilities positions (and this is still true, non-represented Asians are predominant in these fields as well). This could also represent the artist herself as she has a Latinx cultural heritage.
The man with the name “Nelson” name badge is Walter “Pop” Nelson, holding papers, (BC Co - Founder, BC Chair 1971).

“Basement Strikers Demand Affirmative Action for Healthcare Students Now” is written on the sign that the man is holding who has an orange shirt and decorative design on his right side. This may be David Johnson, Wendell Adams, or Freeman Bradley holding the protest sign (who worked with “Basement People” and Black students) along with John A. Watson, PhD in the white Kangol hat holding up a power fist.

Phillip R. Lee, MD may be behind the man with the sign.


Photo from Art & Culture SF - Diversity at UCSF


3 - Smaller mosaic pieces:

Along the roof of the first floor, there are various symbols of holistic healing among international cultures including ying-yang (balance),
ginger roots, mushroom, corn, etc.






Photo from Juana Alicia - Portfolio: Sanarte


4 - Bottom left mural:

The shells are cowrie shells used in different African diaspora as currency
as well as in spiritual practices of divination and healing.

The writing along the yellow ribbons notes:
(left to top, top center to right, center down to bottom)

“I have learned that there is no single path to creativity”

“We are constrained not by necessary discipline of rigor, but by the limits
of our imaginations and intellectual courage.”

“In the words of musician Fats Waller “Dare to be wrong or you may never
 be right.”

J. Michael Bishop UCSF Chancellor and Nobel Laureate