Will Power Allegory
public art, porcelain enamel steel
commissioned by LA Metro for the future Metro Little Tokyo/Arts District Station
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.
What’s Next: Five Things To Know About Regional Connector Artwork by Audrey Chan
May 2, 2020
This week, we’re going behind-the-scenes into the creative process of Audrey Chan, one of Metro’s Regional Connector Art Program artists for her porcelain enamel steel artwork Will Power Allegory created for the platform level of the future Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.
Inspired by obon dances, protests, and parades, Chan invites viewers to “join” the procession of community figures across 14 artwork panel assemblies. This panel (above) features FandangObon, an intercultural music and dance festival held annually in Little Tokyo.
Lifting up stories of the Little Tokyo, Arts District, Skid Row, Gabrieleno/Tongva, and Bronzeville communities, Chan boldly presents the triumphs and legacies of community struggle and resilience.
Chan’s artwork, entitled Will Power Allegory, expands the mural legacy left by the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s through site-specific stories of people and place to depict “the American scene.”
Applying fibrous texture of kozo (mulberry) paper and large interconnected brush strokes, Chan unites the background of the monumental artwork panels.
Like other station artists, Chan was selected by a community-based panel, following extensive community outreach and an open call process. In addition to over three years of archival research and in-person interviews, she led an interactive community workshop during the 2017 Nisei Week Festival in which she invited community members to dream of and draw figures and symbols that hold cultural significance.