Today the image of Fernando Trevino went up at Passyunk and Reed, completing the piece "La Corona." This particular billboard is the first billboard in the Billboard Project and the only one where an image changed during the course of the project. La Corona means "The Crown" in both Italian and Spanish.
A portrait of Antoinette Conti was placed on that billboard for 2 months. Antoinette is a second-generation Italian-American immigrant. Now Fernando Trevino is up, he lives next door to Antoinette. Fernando is a first-generation Mexican-American immigrant. Fernando and Antoinette live directly across the street from me. I'm a fourth generation Eastern European Jewish-American immigrant.
Beyond the billboard at Passyunk and Reed, there's a ring of cell phone towers that sit atop a building several houses down from the corner. When you cross Passyunk Ave right at the Acme, there's a specific vantage point where the cell phone tower forms what looks like a crown on the head of the person on the billboard. Hence the name "La Corona." The meaning of "La Corona" connects my neighbors in a way I don't quite have full access too... it circumvents our common language, English. They share more than a common wall.
Italian-Americans are one of the oldest ethnic groups living in South Philadelphia and Mexican-Americans are one of the newest ethnic groups. Who rules here? We rule here. La Corona. Long live South Philadelphia! May we always embrace the newest immigrant groups with love and appreciation.