Artist Patrick Martinez transforms LA Plaza’s building as part of WE RISE 2021 into a monumental neon mural with social-political messages addressing the plight and resilience of essential workers in Los Angeles. The installation’s title Only Light Can Do That, references and riffs off of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s beloved sermon given in 1957 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Collaborating with AltaMed Health Services, Martinez sourced phrases from key statistics and oral histories from the communities most affected by the pandemic to promote mass dialogue and awareness, presenting their collective voices through symbolic rhythms of words, color and light. Creating more than twenty-five new neon artworks as part of this site-specific installation Martinez’ goals are to inspire connection between the urban minority experience, increase awareness about the communities most impacted by the pandemic, promote dialogue related to issues of immigration and equality and give recognition to the behind-the-scenes heroes who champion representation and healing for all.
“Creating this site-specific public installation is something I wanted to make happen for the people of Los Angeles, and, at the same time, I wanted to unpack the past year for myself while composing this body of work.”