SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – A seven-foot tall sculpture of a homeless man made its debut this week in the heart of Santa Monica as part of a new art installation.
Titled “In The Image”, the statue by Los Angeles artist and activist Ed Massey was unveiled Monday in front of a former Home Savings and Loan building on the corner of Wilshire and 26th in Santa Monica.
It features a bearded figure wearing baggy clothes and a red blanket draped on his shoulder, in what the artist says is a “vision that simultaneously references contemporary social themes and historical religious imagery.”
The statue’s unveiling coincides with a new LA Times poll that reports 95% of voters say homelessness is the biggest issue in the city.
It also evoked comparisons to other similar “Homeless Jesus” statues that have gone up in other cities like Seattle and Toronto.
Once featuring a mosaic mural of a beach scene and other artworks by Claremont artist Millard Sheets, the Home Savings building was stripped of its landmark designation following a 2013 court settlement, according to Santa Monica Conservancy. It’s not clear what became of the building’s artwork.
The homeless statue installation will be on display for six weeks.