Books & Art

What Is That Creepy Shrouded Statue in Front of Megamall?

It's meant to send a poignant message.
IMAGE MARIO ALVARO LIMOS
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While driving on EDSA for the first time in months, my friend pointed to a huge monument being erected in front of SM Megamall. 

“It looks like Valak,” he said. 

“It looks like the Nazguls from the Lord of the Rings,” I countered. 

“Why is the face square and dark?” 

“Are they building another statue of the Virgin Mary?”

Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.
Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.
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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

It’s hard not to miss the imposing sculpture on EDSA. Contrary to what some people have been speculating, it is not a statue of Henry Sy, Sr

It is actually a giant artwork by Filipino-American sculptor Jefre Manuel Figueras, aka JEFRË. The 12-meter-tall work is called the Time Sculpture, which depicts a man looking at his watch, a reminder to people that time is valuable.

The Statue's Design

Photo by SM.
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The 12-meter-tall structure made of mirror stainless steel has points established across the figure’s body and is then connected by polyhedrons that create complex three-dimensional planes.

The Time Sculpture will be unveiled in front of SM Megamall on July 29.

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.

Construction of the Time Sculpture

Photo by SM.

The structure is made up of multiple round steel tubes as the main structural column, as seen in the photo above, shot during the construction of one of its main columns. 

The box-shaped head is also an iconic form within the artwork as it establishes the figure as a symbolic expression. 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. 

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Below are other Baks figures by JEFRË.

Photo by JEFRË.

With the opportunity to create a landmark along EDSA, SM Supermalls teamed up with JEFRË to make something with presence, to have something on a pedestrian scale as people don’t really look at the building from the ground floor.

“Even when stuck in traffic, people should learn how to respect the idea of time by using it productively,” SM says in a statement. 

The permanent art sculpture, like any other public art installation, aims to create an understanding of the history of the city and its people, as well as to establish forms that best represent the city. 

JEFRË is an award-winning public artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He is proud of his Filipino heritage and how his family originates from San Pedro, Laguna, and Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur. JEFRË creates art and sculptures that help identify cities and places. For him, it’s an opportunity to use art as more than decoration but also to provide a sense of place and opportunities to create emotion for visitors of the place.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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