LOS ANGELES, CA – The Expo/Bundy Metro Station offers more than just transportation.
- Metro Art Docent Council offering FREE tours
- Nzuji de Magalhaes created her first public piece
- Art tribute to neighborhood's past and present
The station is the home to art by Nzuji de Magalhaes, who grew up in Angola before moving to the United States in the early 1990s.
"The Japanese came to the United States and here they kind of made home," Magalhaes said, referring to the area near Sawtelle and Bundy.
The eight panels tell the evolving story of the Japanese immigrants who settled there before World War II.
"My favorite part of doing this project is the history," Magalhaes said.
Magalhaes gave a tour to a group of volunteer Metro Art docents, many of them taking notes for anecdotal information they can add to their own tours.
"It brings a lot to the tour when we’re able to tour and talk about the artist themselves," said Alicia LaFontaine, who was training to be a docent.
This year, the Metro Art Docent Council is celebrating 20 years by offering free tours to the public.
"Most people that come on these tours have no idea that we have a rail system, let alone art in the system," said Barbara Lashenick, who founded the council.
Some of the panels were black and white to portray the past, while others displayed vibrant colors.
"You’re supposed to be visually enticed by it but also I kind of trick you into ‘Ok, try to touch it.' You’re not allowed to, but try to touch it,'" Magalhaes said.
It took Magalhaes a year to design the piece before it was unveiled in 2016. With her first time creating public art, Magalhaes was floored by the initial reaction from the surrounding community, as her career continues to grow.
"After that, LACMA got in touch with me. I did a mural in Compton," Magalhaes said.
No matter how many more commissions she gets, Magalhaes’ first piece of public art entitled "And Here I Will Stay" will always be close to her heart.
"There’s no word in the dictionary to describe the feeling, the intensity of having a piece like this done," Magalhaes said. "It’s almost like I left a little bit of myself here, so where I have to come back every time to make sure it’s still there."
It is a standing tribute to the neighborhood’s past and present on a platform.
Metro offers the free public art tours at different stations on the first two weekends each month. More information here.