Jefrë unveils monument for Pulse nightclub victims in Florida, Wings of the Rainbow

49 Angels

Jefrë unveils monument for Pulse nightclub victims in Florida, Wings of the Rainbow

The memorial will be located in Osceola County’s Brown Weiss Park on Lake Toho. (Courtesy Osceola County Government)

Filipino-American visual artist Jefrë has unveiled his vision for a memorial dedicated to victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. The sculpture, titled Wings of the Rainbow, is a 49-foot-tall polychromatic sculpture in Osceola County’s Brown Weiss Park on Lake Toho.

The number 49 repeats throughout Jefrë’s design because there were 49 total LGBTQIA+ victims of the 2016 tragedy. The structure is meant to symbolize remembrance, diversity, and hope, the artist shared in a statement.

Wings of the Rainbow is a joint collaboration between Jefrë and the Osceola County Government of Florida. It arrives after similar proposals for other mass shooting victims in the U.S. including Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Las Vegas; Pittsburg; and Charleston, South Carolina.

View from Lake Toho looking toward the memorial
View from Lake Toho looking toward the memorial (Courtesy Osceola County Government)

The design consists of both a figural sculpture and landscape feature. Perched above scenic Lake Toho, Jefrë’s creation is made of 49 angel wings made of different colors that come together to make a rainbow—each wing symbolizes someone killed in the shooting.

The tribute be will set in a verdant park, and the pathways leading up to the memorial form the shape of a heart. Along these paved walkways encircling the memorial, an abundance of wildflowers and native plantings will bloom alongside arbor trees that represent the first responders and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Inside the garden will be 49 individual sculpture elements. The artist is currently working with the families of victims to collect photos and memorabilia to inform the sculpture elements; this ephemera will be embedded into the sculptures as mosaics.

As an interactive element, visitors will have the chance to leave digital messages for each victim via QR codes placed around the sculpture. This, Jefrë said, allows for a personal connection between guests and those who the monument commemorates. At night, the angel wings will be illuminated to creating a glowing beacon that lights up the sky, symbolizing the eternal presence and guiding light of the 49 angels.

Pulse shooting memorial
The names of victims will appear onsite. (Courtesy Osceola County Government)
rainbow memorial
Visitors can scan via QR code to leave a memory about individual victims. (Courtesy Osceola County Government)

Creating Wings of the Rainbow has been a deeply emotional and fulfilling journey, Jefrë shared in a statement. I hope this tribute not only honors the lives we lost but also serves as a beacon of hope and unity for the community. I’m honored to create a tribute that celebrates the lives that were lost on that horrific day and to be located in a passive tranquil space that is removed from the tragic events of that night, a place of healing and spirituality.