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Hieroglyph installation imagined for Crenshaw Boulevard is a tribute to South Los Angeles

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The sculptural artwork is a prototype of a larger piece planned for Crenshaw Boulevard

Courtesy of the Hammer Museum

A work of art ultimately intended for permanent installation on Crenshaw Boulevard in South LA has won a major recognition not only for the artist, but for the community which will eventually host the artwork.

Los Angeles native Lauren Halsey was awarded $100,000 for her installation titled The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture), the Hammer Museum announced today.

The piece is a preliminary version of a larger permanent monument imagined for a space on Crenshaw Boulevard “that formerly held an African bazaar, which she frequented as a child.”

Born and raised in South LA, Halsey plans the piece, which has been in the works since at least 2015, to serve as “a dedication to and record of the community of South Central.” She says the area is “undergoing a major transition, as mass development and new residents restructure the local economy and neighborhood.”

The prize committee for the Mohn Award lauded Halsey’s “distinctive iconography and community-building vision.”

Halsey told the Los Angeles Times today: “This award affirms that artists can make work that’s rooted in their community’s concerns and experiences and it will resonate with a broader audience.”

Halsey personally “inscribed every panel on the main structure with signifiers of her community and neighborhood of South Central,” says the Hammer Museum, which is hosting the Made In L.A. biennial that includes Halsey’s work and the work of more than 30 Los Angeles-area artists.

The symbols carved into the plywood and gypsum construction include signs for local stores, images of South LA landmarks, pyramids and Egyptian imagery, portraits of Halsey’s family and friends, a local Sphinx, and the names of black residents in and outside of LA who have been killed by police.

Halsey told Los Angeles Magazine she’s getting closer to realizing the permanent project— working with engineers and architects to determine feasibility and locking down a space on Crenshaw Boulevard.

The final location has not yet been revealed, but the prize will likely only add to the project’s forward momentum.