Meet JEFRË, The Man Who Just Made The EDSA Streetscape More Exciting With His “Time Sculpture,” Situated Within The SM Mega Mall Complex
This Fil-Am artist has been recognized worldwide for his monumental sculptures
Last Thursday, July 29 saw the unveiling of the “Time Sculpture,” an awesome 12-meter tall work designed by Filipino-American public artist Jefre Manuel Figueras, simply known as JEFRË.
It depicts a man looking at his watch, which JEFRË wants to be a reminder to people that time is valuable. Even when stuck in traffic, people should learn how to respect the idea of time by using it productively.
The giant sculpture is part of JEFRË’s Baks Series, the artist’s first signature works. The Baks Series was named after the phonetic pronunciation of the word “box” in American English. Its figures are archetypes representing people who give life and character to cities around the world.
The sculpture made with mirror stainless steel has points established across the figure’s body and are then connected by polyhedrons that create complex three-dimensional planes. The box-shaped head is also an iconic form within the artwork as it establishes the figure as symbolic expressions. For JEFRË, people are the building blocks of the city and by converting the statue’s head to a block, the artist connects the figures to urban architecture. Looking closely at the piece reveals that the various tesserae that form its entirety reflect bits and pieces of the cityscape around it: the buildings, EDSA, the traffic, and even the people who walk by it, making this work of art a fitting confluence of the urban environment in which it is situated.
With the opportunity to create a landmark along EDSA, SM Supermalls teamed up with JEFRË to make something of presence, to have something on pedestrian scale as people don’t really look at the building from the ground floor.
Meet the artist through these six quick facts about him:
1. His objective behind the permanent art sculpture at SM Megamall, like any other public art installation, was to create understanding of the history of the city and its people, as well as to establish forms that best represent the city.
2. JEFRË is an award-winning public artist based in Chicago, Illinois, is a proud Filipino with family originating from San Pedro, Laguna and Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.
3. He creates art and sculptures that help identify cities and places. For him, it’s an opportunity to use art more than decoration but also to provide a sense of place and opportunities to create emotion for visitors of the place.
4. JEFRË studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Ohio State University, and Architectural Association in London.
5. In 2012, he was named Emerging Artist of the Year and has won in various monumental sculpture competitions in Washington DC, New Orleans, San Antonio, London, Rome, and Miami.
6. Some of JEFRË’s works in the Philippines include “Talking Heads,” a permanent installation featuring six large sculptures in the lobby of SM Prime’s Five Ecom Center Building and larger-than-life sculptures of carabao, eagle, rooster, and tarsier at SM Aura Premier.
"Let the city lights guide you home. Please Be Kind in Traffic. Time will always be on your side and be on 'watch,'" the artist says in an Instagram post. He further shared that he loved seeing the traffic and people's reflections on his creation.
The launch of the Time Sculpture is one of the many exciting art events at SM Megamall.