Comfort Women Justice Coalition Comfort Women Justice Coalition
Steven Whyte depicted the sensitive subject matter of the World War II Comfort Women figuratively, thusly actualizing the struggle while still making the monument's message of women's rights universal. The monument focused on a few key sentiments: vulnerability, resolve, solidarity, resilience, demand of recognition. The raised height of the women declares that they will no longer have their story hidden in shame. Instead, their bravery and perseverance demand acknowledgement. Staring down at visitors to the park, each of the women wears a resolute expression and an unyielding gaze.
The three females are Chinese, Korean, and Filipina, aged 12-18 years old at the cusp of womanhood. They stand tall in solidarity next to each other, rising above their tarnished past. Viewing the monument from the ground is a figure of Kim Hak-sun, the human rights activist and Comfort Women survivor. The grandma figure looks at the young women with resilient power reminding all that justice will and ought to have its resolution. This concept is reinforced by the sculpture’s patina, which gradually fades from dark to light so that the viewers' gaze is drawn upward, right to the faces of the three girls. Whyte makes just one exception to this pattern. A lighter color is also seen on the figures’ hands, once more emphasizing the power of the girls’ shared strength. The remarkable dexterity of Whyte’s design is that it focuses on the women in a way that showcases their courage rather than focusing on vilifying or accusing others. It uses the sensitive subject as an opportunity to not only create a work of stirring beauty, but to also create a permanent catalyst for reflection.
Sculptor Steven Whyte worked closely with the architect and engineers whom designed the rooftop terrace that was acquired by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department for public park space. The monument is installed on a naturalized rooftop park extension that is level with the St. Mary's Square.
Flight of the Butterfly, by Gary Rotter
This documentary featuring Steven Whyte as part of the effort to memorialize the story of the Comfor
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.