DCA and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument announced the finalist team for the Memorial to the Victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre
Artist Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong and writer Judy Chui-Hua Chung were selected from six finalists that presented renderings to the panel and the public earlier this year. More than 176 proposals from respondents to the Request for Information (RFI) chose to propose a physical memorial at one of two primary sites along the 400 block of North Los Angeles Street, near the Chinese American Museum and close to the historical site of the massacre.
“There are few things more important than knowing our full history, including, and maybe especially, when that history involves violent injustice, hidden out of sight. The City is taking these steps to honor the victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre in order to better understand our past and build a better future. This important chapter in our history, long clear to our neighbors of Chinese descent, will now be known and considered by all Angelenos,” said City of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.
“The 1871 Chinese Massacre represents one of the most savage and horrific events in our city’s history. It is imperative that Los Angeles create a memorial to honor the lives of the victims and be a city that is transparent about even the most painful parts of our history for the sake of reconciliation. The selection of these finalists brings us one step closer to memorializing that history for the sake of the victims,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León, District 14.
“The new memorial seeks to simultaneously raise public awareness of the 1871 Chinese massacre – in which at least 18 residents of Los Angeles, or roughly ten percent of the city’s Chinese population at the time, were murdered – and to address contemporary concerns about race, intolerance, and violence,” said Daniel Tarica, DCA’s General Manager. “It strives to tell the story of the little-known largest mass killing in Los Angeles history and to convey a broader, more universal message.”
“El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument is honored to assist in the development of a memorial dedicated to the 1871 Massacre of 18 Chinese Americans who lost their lives due to intolerance and racism,” said Arturo Chavez, General Manager, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. “El Pueblo is the current site where this tragic event occurred and it is only fitting that we recognize and honor the victims of this horrible event. It is time that Los Angeles and the world recognize and honor the victims of intolerance and racism so that we never forget the past and so it will never occur again.”
“The evaluation panel had six excellent proposals to review. The Leong and Chung proposal sensitively addresses the difficult history of the 1871 Chinese Massacre. It strikes the proper balance between honoring and remembering as well as poetically educates the public about this painful event in our city,” said Felicia Filer, DCA Public Art Division Director.
Artist Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong and writer Judy Chui-Hua Chung said: “We are humbled by the historic significance of this memorial and honored that our proposal was chosen from a group of such talented finalists. While we are memorializing a massacre that reveals the long history of anti-Asian violence, we are also acknowledging that Asian Americans have been deeply rooted here since the beginnings of this city, state, and country. We are committed to commemorating the tragedy by honoring the victims and the diversity of this city they helped grow. We are grateful to the City of Los Angeles, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the 1871 Memorial Steering Committee, the panelists, and everyone who made this memorial process and this moment possible.”
“We recognize that facing injustices that occurred in our City’s history is not easy, yet it is important to remind future generations of the lessons embodied in the tragic Chinese Massacre of 1871,” said Michael Truong, Executive Director, Chinese American Museum. “We commend the City of Los Angeles for shepherding this effort and send our best wishes to the finalist team. When the finished work is unveiled, we look forward to joining together in reflection and healing.”
DCA released the Request for Ideas (RFI) in August 2022 as a product of an extensive, year-long community engagement process spurred by recommendations in the 2021 Past Due report of the Mayor’s Office Civic Memory Working Group and shaped specifically by a Steering Committee of more than 70 cultural, civic, and business leaders and other key stakeholders.
The Department convened an Evaluation Panel of arts and design experts to review the submissions to the RFI and choose six design teams to receive a stipend of $15,000 each to develop their concepts further and present them in a public forum. The evaluation panel then selected the artist Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong and writer Judy Chui-Hua Chung as the team to develop the memorial.
The Evaluation Panel consisted of:
- Annie Chu, Founding Principal, Chu-Gooding Architects
- Christopher Hawthorne, Senior Critic, Yale School of Architecture
- Jason Chu, Rapper and Community Activist
- June Li, Founding Curator of the Chinese Garden, Huntington Library, Retired
- Mark Lee, Partner of Johnston Marklee Architects and Chair of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design
- Steven Wong, Artist, Curator, and Director of East Los Angeles College’s Vincent Price Art Museum
- Suellen Cheng, Executive Director Emerita of the Chinese American Museum
- Susana Reyes, Board of Public Works Commissioner
DCA launched the process to develop the memorial with an RFI instead of a traditional Request for Proposals (RFP) or other process as a result of feedback from extensive community sessions held in 2021, in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of the massacre. The goal was to make the RFI process as open and inclusive as possible, welcoming the most creative and worthy ideas not only from large, established firms but also from individual artists and designers.
DCA and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument announced the six finalists for the memorial to the victims of the 1871 Chinese massacre. The finalists’ proposals will be presented in a Zoom public engagement session in February, 2023 followed by final review from an evaluation panel. Free admission. Registration opens February 9 at 10:00 a.m. The proposals can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Past Public Events:
1871 Today – Remembering the Victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre and Perspectives on Preserving Old Chinatown and New
February 14, 2023 at 12:15 p.m.
Join the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a special convening on the 1871 Memorial project. As part of the National Trust’s Roundtable on Cultural Preservation Strategies for America’s Chinatowns we will hear from historians, preservationists, community organizations and residents on the meaning of 1871 today.
- What about Chinatown’s past is important to preserve, sustain, or memorialize for future generations?
- What do you want people to understand about Chinatown (old and new) when they experience this place?
- With respect to the 1871 memorial, how can new projects connect us with the past and to the preservation and contemporary understanding of old and new Chinatown?
- This conversation will be livestreamed and recorded for the design teams and the public to attend and review.
Memorial to the Victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre Design Finalist Presentations
February 18, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The six shortlisted teams presented their design proposals and engaged in conversation with attendees in a public forum held on February 18, 2023. We invited the public to provide feedback and commentary as well as engage in conversation on themes of public space, civic art, memory, honoring the past, as well as exclusion, belonging, anti-Asian violence, and white supremacy. The conversation will inform the final submissions by the design teams. This event was held in two sections with the same format: design presentations, Q&A, and small group discussion, that took place via Zoom and in-person at NAC Architecture, 837 North Spring Street, Third Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.:
- Sonam Lhamo, Jiawei Yao, Yiying (architectural team, Seattle)
- Sze Tsung Nicolas Leong and Judy Chui-Hua Chung (artist/writer collaboration, Los Angeles)
- Fung + Blatt Architects (architects, Los Angeles)
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.:
- Candice Lin + Frederick Fisher and Partners (architect/artist collaboration, Los Angeles)
- Figure x (James Leng and Jennifer Ly) J. Roc Jih (architecture collective, San Francisco)
- Anne Sew Hoy and Zhu Jia and Formation Association (artist/architect collaboration, Los Angeles)
Watch the Recorded Presentations of the Memorial to the Victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre Design Finalist
View the Proposed Concepts
Fung + Blatt Architects
Los Angeles, CA
Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong and Judy Chui-Hua Chung
Artist/Writer Collaboration, Los Angeles, CA
Artists Anna Sew Hoy and Zhu Jia and Formation Association
Artists/Architect Collaboration, Los Angeles, CA
Candice Lin + Frederick Fisher and Partners
Architect/Artist Collaboration, Los Angeles, CA
Figure x J. Jih
Architecture Collective, led by James Leng and Jennifer Ly in collaboration with J. Roc Jih, San Francisco, CA
Sonam Lhamo, Jiawei Yao, Yiying Tang
Architectural Team, Seattle, WA
For more information on the initiative, please download the media release here.