Downtown Jacksonville is now home to a very special art piece dedicated to Filipinos and Filipino Americans.
'The Roots That Ground Us,' a visually striking mural by Filipina American artist Grace Bio, depicts the vibrance of Filipino culture and heritage. It is displayed at a historic Jacksonville landmark which has served as the city's center for literature, art, and community for over 100 years.
"The Jessie Ball duPont Center is actually a very important building. It’s very historical and it’s always been the center point of a lot of community events... So this is the perfect place for it," Bio noted.
Bio's goal has always been to highlight her Filipino culture and heritage through her art.
"Pretty much excavate our roots and learn more about the ancient traditions and pre-colonial traditions. And also representing that in their own unique way," she said.
Born in Key West, Florida, Bio was raised in a navy family that traveled extensively until they finally settled in Jacksonville in 1991. She said the Jacksonville mural also represents her own roots.
"All the figures on this mural are all fictional except for my parents and my niece. The largest woman is my mother and the little girl is my niece and the man in my carabao is my Dad. My mother holding onto my niece represents the passing down of knowledge and traditions to make sure it passes down to future generations. And my father as well as the woman that is a fictional person, they represent the roots of the Philippines which is our agriculture."
The artist credits her elementary school art teacher Ava Mitchell for teaching and inspiring her to pursue her passion for art which has been seen nationally and internationally. Her pieces, known for depicting urban culture, have been exhibited in Washington DC and New York. She has also collaborated on international projects with her siblings and fellow artists Leo and Gigi, whom she also credits for molding her interests in music, culture, and fashion.