It’s quite hard to miss the 12-meter tall metallic sculpture towering outside SM Megamall in the heart of the Philippine capital, Metro Manila.
Aptly titled “Time Sculpture,” Filipino-American public artist JEFRË’s (Jefre Manuel Figueras) artwork portrays a person glancing at his watch as a way of reminding the riding public of the value of time.
JEFRË wanted the public to “reflect on time and what we’re achieving in our lives.”
Made from mirror stainless steel, the massive structure contains points that run the length of the figure's body. Polyhedrons connect these points, forming complicated three-dimensional planes. JEFRË converted the statue's head to a block as a statement on people’s role as the building blocks of a city.
Following the American English phonetic pronunciation of the word "box," Time Sculpture is part of JEFRË's Baks Series. The artist's figures in this series are archetypes of people who give cities around the world life and character.
JEFRË is a Chicago-based public artist who has won numerous awards. His roots are in the provinces of Laguna and Ilocos Sur. He went to the Art Institute of Chicago, Ohio State University, and the Architectural Association in London to further his education.
The Fil-Am artist also sculpted the carabao, eagle, rooster, and tarsier statues at SM Aura Premier, as well as the “Talking Heads,” a permanent installation containing six enormous sculptures inside SM Prime's Five Ecom Center Building.
JEFRË makes public art to help make landmarks and identify cities and locations. His artworks aim not just to put an artistic touch to public spaces, but also to empower local residents and visiting tourists by giving them a sense of place.
Being late has always been a part of deep-seated Filipino culture, so much so that we've been given a name for it: Filipino Time. Our chronic tardiness has become a glaring facet of Filipino culture, given the terrible Manila traffic and dismal public transportation infrastructure. JEFRË’s work is a poignant message for Filipinos to value time—both our own and others.
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.