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Will Power Allegory

public art, porcelain enamel steel

commissioned by LA Metro for the future Metro Little Tokyo/Arts District Station

2022

Composed as a new public allegory of Los Angeles as a site of remembrance and resistance, Will Power Allegory speaks to present and future generations about the power and politics of place. The 14 colorful panels will flank the station platform of the future Metro Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, featuring fluid vignettes of people and symbols of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, Arts District, Skid Row, Bronzeville, and Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribe. The artwork’s iconographic program is the culmination of four years of dialogue with community culture bearers, including community organizers, residents, historians, and local artists. Through drawing, Chan translated archival and on-site research into compositions that convey the complexity and beauty of the multigenerational struggle for social justice and cultural recognition. The porcelain enamel steel panels feature important community figures such as philanthropist and healer Biddy Mason; photographer Toyo Miyatake; dancer, choreographer and teacher Fujima Kansuma; and community activist Joel Bloom. Local monuments and events are depicted, including the Aoyama Tree, Nisei Week Festival, and Skid Row’s public art and parades. Encircling the lower perimeter of the panels, a procession of protestors, ceremonial dancers, and festival revelers come together to honor and defend their communities. 

Image: Detail featuring Minoru and Ito Matoba and "Atomic Nancy" Sekizawa of Atomic Café (1946-1989) and restaurant patron