If you pass through SM Megamall in Mandaluyong, chances are you’ve taken a glance at the colossal statue that’s concealed under a vast tarp just in front of the Mega Fashion Hall, whether from a car traversing EDSA or from the MRT going by.
Well, we can stop wondering, because SM Megamall has finally pulled the covers to present their newest icon: “TIME,” a 12-meter sculpture created by acclaimed Filipino-American public artist Jefre Manuel Figueras, also known as JEFRË.
Portraying a metallic man with a box-shaped head looking at his wrist, this masterpiece by JEFRË means to remind the viewing public that time is valuable and how even our moments stuck in traffic are opportune openings to meditate over our own productivity and the meaningful ways through which we spend our time and our life.
The metallic man, depicted in an assemblage of planes and polyhedrons, is also meant to symbolize the urban city’s inhabitants – the “building blocks” who navigate the metropolis’ hustle-and-bustle and who hurry to make meaning out of their day-to-day.
SM Megamall also revealed that the steel sculpture is an ode to a quote by business magnate and SM founder Henry Sy Sr., who said that: “There are countless dreams to pursue. Only your willingness to work, your imagination, and time can limit the ways.” The huge structure was handpicked by the Sy family as a homage to the patriarch who, to the clan, was a man who held the value of time in high regard.
The “TIME” installation is part of JEFRË’s signature body of work called the “BAKS series,” drawing its name from the phonetic pronunciation of the word “box.” First presented at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida, the installation series include archetypes of people whose representations give life and character to cities around the world.
An award-winning architect-turned-public artist based in Chicago, Illinois, JEFRË studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Ohio State University, and Architectural Association in London. He was named the Emerging Artist of the Year in 2012 and has won in several monumental sculpture competitions in New Orleans, London, Rome, and Miami. His family hails from San Pedro, Laguna and Santo Domingo, Ilocos Sur.
Despite his international acclaim, his latest creation within SM Megamall’s premises aren’t his first in the Philippines. He is also responsible for sculpting “Talking Heads,” a permanent installation featuring six large sculptures at SM Prime’s Five Ecom Center Building, as well as the carabao, eagle, rooster, and tarsier sculptures at SM Aura Premier.