In 2010, I was one of six artists selected through a public process to create artwork for a new subway station for downtown San Francisco. Co sponsored and managed by the San Francisco Arts Commission Public Art Program and the SFMTA, the Central Subway Chinatown station will be located on the corner of Stockton and Washington streets, and has been scheduled for completion in 2018. My proposed artwork is entitled Urban Archeology. Fabricated in architectural glass, the artwork will illustrate the life and history of San Francisco Chinatown.
Over the years, I have created projects that have explored the complex relationship between history and art within public spaces. My goal for the Central Subway Project will be to find a way to tell a story about San Francisco Chinatown. The concept of Wayfinding artwork, which I have been commissioned to create for the station, lends itself to the construction of a visual narrative that threads it’s way throughout the station. Passengers who descend into the station will be asked to experience the artwork in much the same way as archeologists sift through layers of earth at an archeological site.
Moving through the station, passengers will be presented with a visual time line that begins with contemporary images of the Chinatown community and ends with life before the city was founded, on the lower Platform level. Reverse this passage and the traveler who descends into the station will journey back in time as the history of the Chinatown community and the city of San Francisco are revealed.
For the latest news about this project visit: http://www.centralsubwayblog.com/blog/2014/08/artist-tomie-arai-discusses-planned-art-installation-for-chinatown-station/