Public art installation evokes immigrant experience in Redwood City

Public art installation evokes immigrant experience in Redwood City

in A&E/Community

Mixed-media artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza has unveiled “Mil USOS/Labor Monument: Portrait of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, others, parents and grandparents,” a public art installation on display at Redwood City’s Art Kiosk now through April 30.

The exhibition, described as “larger than life” by spokesperson Eleanor Lazar, is made possible by the Redwood City Improvement Association, with curatorial work and project management by Fung Collaboratives. It shows “a figure kneeling on one knee to represent the millions of exploited immigrants that contribute to society in more ways than one,” she said, adding that the artwork’s name, “Mil Usos” translates to “One Thousand Uses.”

Through his work, Mendoza “looks to give a voice to the millions of immigrants who are forced to leave their communities of origin looking for a better way of life,” according to Lazar. She further highlighted the countless hardships immigrant families face when coming to our country, including wage exploitation, poor work conditions and other issues spurred by their legal status.

“The figure is meant to be a celebration and dedication to all those who work in laborious and straining jobs such as construction, agriculture, home cleaning and many others,” she added.

Mendoza used cardboard as the primary material in his work—a commonplace material often taken for granted, but which is “multifaceted and resilient,” per Lazar. It’s used in his work to draw parallels to his community. Lazar said a notable feature of the installation is “the spray-painted pattern of plants on the left arm and right leg of the figure, symbolizing life, hope and the power of community healing.”

The Art Kiosk can be found at 2208 Broadway St. in Redwood City. Learn more about the Art Kiosk, as well as Mendoza’s art installation, here.

Public art installation by Hector Mendoza (Photos by Eric Mendoza).