A Spanish sculptor has been selected to create a permanent art display in a plaza near the Town Field playground in Fields Corner. A ten-member committee has awarded the commission to Juanjo Novella, whose "Freedom's Home" submission was one of 144 considered in a year-long process led by the Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. (VietAID) and the City of Boston Parks Department, the Boston Art Commission. The project— which has a budget of $500,000 with half of that slated to pay for the art piece itself— is supported by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund.
Novella's tall, curved sculpture would be built with a steel membrane comprised of the word “freedom” repeated in multiple languages that will be lit up at night. Novella was one of three artists who were finalists in the competitive process.
"Inspired by the mountainous island cliffs in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay as well as the shapes of the roads circumscribing Fields Corner, Novella seeks to integrate the piece with the community," according to a statement issued by VietAID this weekend.
"Through “Freedom Home,” we honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom," stated Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Mr. Novella has thoughtfully represented the universal experience of those who came to Boston seeking hope and equality. We are grateful to VietAID for the their work to bring important artwork to our neighborhoods.”
VietAID's executive director Nam Pham said that the artist's "willingness to continue to modify his design based on community input, including the important element of color," was an important factor in the decision. The color of the conceptual design was red, but will likely be changed to yellow, according to VietAID spokesperson Evelyn Darling.
“This unique sculpture will create an icon for Fields Corner and will help to establish Fields Corner as a destination for business and culture,” Pham. “As a refugee who, like many, came to America in search of freedom, I am very moved by Novella's use of Ha Long Bay as inspiration for the form. Our goal also is for this artwork not only to appeal to my Vietnamese experience but also to speak to all people who call Fields Corner home, regardless of where they came from.”
Novella has commissioned artworks installed across Europe, Asia, North America, and New Zealand, including in Madrid, Spain; Asan-Si, South Korea; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Lubbock, Texas. He also has had many exhibitions of his work, including at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
For more information about the Freedom Public Art Project and about how to contribute to the artwork, visit www.vietaid.org or call 617-822-3717.