HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN - Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell (CD-13), the City's Board of Public Works, Bureau of Street Lighting, and the Department of Transportation announced a public art design contest to accompany the installment of 54 new pedestrian street lights along Temple Street in the heart of Historic Filipinotown. In addition to improving pedestrian safety, the #HiFiLights contest will showcase the unique contribution of Filipino culture to the tapestry of Los Angeles.
The contest features three artists whose designs have been selected as finalists by the Project HiFi Highlight Committee composed of residents and community leaders in Historic Filipinotown. An online vote conducted at the website hifilights.lacity.org will help determine the winning design to be featured on 27 of the newly installed pedestrian street lights. The artists focused their work on the themes kapayapaan meaning harmony, kapwa meaning humanity, and lakbay meaning mobility.
"There were many beautiful interpretations of the theme 'harmony and humanity,' and I expect Angelenos will have a difficult time deciding between which artist's entry to select," said Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. "Temple Street is one of the great commercial corridors in the 13th District and any of these designs would give it a greater cultural identity. I am eager to see which design is chosen."
"One of the defining principles of the Filipino culture is the participatory nature of our lives," said Board of Public Works Commissioner Joel Jacinto. "It is only fitting to invite the general public and everyone with an interest Historic Filipinotown to have a voice and vote in helping determine the final artistic submission to be featured on the pedestrian safety street lighting along Temple Street."
The three finalists are Celina Duffy, Roel Punzalan, and Roberto San Luis. They are all L.A.-based artists who trace their ancestries to the Philippines and have drawn on the nation's artistic traditions as well as their experiences as Angelenos to create designs representative of L.A.'s creative spirit and diverse cultural heritage. Each gave a statement about their proposed work which can be viewed at hifilights.lacity.org
"Art is a reflection of the artist’s point of view, his experience and perspective. Public art serves to convey a more public statement. 'Vinta” is an art installation drawn from my personal life in the context of the purpose of HiFi Highlight—to create a sense of place in Historic Filipinotown that represents its cultural heritage. As with most art, the artists perspective is oftentimes a reflection common to the general public." - Roberto San Luis
"My design proposal aims to incorporate the three core concepts of the project, the inclusive experience and nature of Filipino culture, and the ethnic diversity of Historic Filipinotown. The designs anthropomorphize three symbols with the idea that the human figure is the fundamental building block to achieve each of the core values." - Roel Punzalan
“I feel so blessed to be a descendant of Filipino immigrants who came to America in search of hope and the possibility of a better life. I am humbled to contribute designs that may bring light to Historic Filipinotown, while showcasing our rich cultural heritage and contributions. Each symbol in the design has special meaning to Filipinos (kapwa, lakbay, and kapayapaan), yet are universal symbols that represent shared humanity, togetherness, journey, travel, migration, peace, and harmony.” - Celina Duffy
In addition to having their work displayed on the new pedestrian street lights, the winning artist will be rewarded with $1,000 from the Office of Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell for his or her efforts and contributions to the L.A. streetscape.
For more information and to participate in the contest, visit hifilights.lacity.org.