Client: El Centro De La Raza
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $200,000
The brief was for a commemorative artwork to celebrate the life, vision and work of Roberto Maestas, a leading member of Seattle's minority communities, and a champion of the importance of working together to achieve social equality and justice. El Centro de la Raza today continues that work with astonishing dedication. Outside the Centro, Casto’s sculpture adorns the newly reformed Roberto Maestas Plaza, providing a center-point, and a nucleus of togetherness and remembrance.
Integration was fundamental to the creation of this piece in every sense. It was extremely important that, alongside a figurative likeness of Roberto Maestas, the sculpture form a perfect whole with the architecture, light and color of the Plaza. Moreover, it was vital that the piece should fully explore the concept of Togetherness, and become a meeting point for all of Seatte's diverse peoples and communities. As such, it was equally vital that the piece be transitable and provide shelter to those using the Plaza. If the piece was to express unification and togetherness, then it needed to be open and approachable; luminous and full of hope.
Casto worked in particularly close collaboration with both Roberto's family, the project's commissioners at the Centro, in order to develop a design that would fully express this philosophy. As such, the sculpture is formed of seven separate ribbons. Each expresses a direction: north, south, east, west, heaven, earth and inwards, into our hearts. Each also references one of the city of Seattle's seven hills. Above our heads, the ribbons come together, mixing and melding in a gently flowing delta of individual trajectories, and becoming one unified, harmonic whole; just as we do as the generations turn and pass. More than this, the ribbons come together in an explosion of color given off by a series of sculpted sheets of EFTE. The sculpture projects colors onto the paving and steel, and tints the sky as we look up through it. It also provides protection to those who might wish to shelter beneath the it from either sun or rain. Integrated LED lighting systems were also provided to bring it glowing to life during times of darkness. Nearby walks Roberto Maestas himself, a perfect likeness cast in pure bronze. He draws us through the sculpture; together and into the future.