Santa Monica-born installation artist, painter and sculptor Lita Albuquerque has been selected by the Bayside District Corporation and the Santa Monica Arts Commission to help shape the look of the Third Street Promenade. Albuquerque has been chosen to create new banners that will greet visitors to Third Street.
The series of banners, which Albuquerque has titled Dark Iris, will be unveiled at a public ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, August 3rd, on the Third Street Promenade between Broadway and Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.
For the project, Albuquerque says she found inspiration in the astronomy, history and what she sees as the “hidden body of inspiration indigenous to the Promenade.”
“I wanted to align the idea of strolling with a visual sequence that people would ‘read’ as they walk along the promenade — a sort of story that could be picked up and ‘read’ anytime during the sequence,” Albuquerque explains.
Albuquerque works out of a studio at Santa Monica’s nonprofit 18th Street Arts Center.
The banners, silkscreened on mesh fabric, feature rich colors that contrast dramatically with the commercial signage of the district. Eighteen banners with images on both the front and back will be situated along the busy shopping district. Each banner has its own title and identity, and the 36 images combined make up the Dark Iris concept.
Albuquerque describes the work as a tone poem, variations on a theme that “imagines the Earth as the iris of a universal eye, regulating light by expanding and contracting the pupil.”
Taking the ideas of a leisurely stroll, cosmic imagery and the sky, Albuquerque says she hopes observers will have fun figuring out the meaning of the words and images. “The entire series of images is meant to remind us of our capacity to envision and to have vision,” says Albuquerque.
Albuquerque has had work shown publicly in Tokyo, Cairo and Downtown Los Angeles, but this is her first public art installation in her hometown of Santa Monica.
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