Filipino-American artist JEFRË, born Jefre Figueras Manuel, further cements his legacy in the international scene after winning a sculpture competition that will mount his work at a park in Jacksonville, Florida.
Announced on July 22 by the Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), a sculpture proposed by JEFRË is slated to become the new centerpiece of the four-acre Jacksonville River Park.
His sculptural concept is inspired by St. Johns River, which stretches throughout Florida and into the City of Jacksonville. The stainless steel sculpture is a literal reflection of the city’s history.
It is set to be 151 feet tall, or 1,822 inches, which corresponds to Jacksonville’s founding date on June 5, 1822. The total linear length of the sculpture is 310 feet, which represents the length of St. Johns River in nautical miles.
JEFRË used these numbers to form abstract images and shapes to form the sculpture. The initial image he had in mind was that of an anchor, with a series of nautical knots in the shape of a heart, the figure 8, and an “X”. From an elevated angle, it looks like it spells out “Jax”, short for Jacksonville. And from another angle, it could be seen as “I love X” or “I love Jacksonville”.
“That’s the beauty of public art. It creates dialogue and discussion,” shares JEFRË. “Everyone has an interpretation for it. It’s called ‘Jax’, but it’s not a sign, font, or letters. It’s a fluid form of water rising up from the river into the city skyline that forms curving shapes reminiscent of the oxbows and bends of the St. Johns River. From every viewpoint, the river form is a completely different sculpture and reflection of a timeline in history.”
He continues, “If you think it looks like Jax, then great, But if you think it looks like a heart, an anchor, a figure-eight knot, a letter J, lox, lex, love, steel spaghetti, or paperclip, then that’s fine as well.”
JEFRË’s proposed sculpture is valued at $12-18 million and is expected to be completed by 2023.
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