A public garden & cultural center

David Rios Ferreira

Sunroom Project Space 2017 | July 16–Aug 27

Pictured above: And by each crime and every kindness, 2017, C-print, acetate, gouache and collage mounted on window panes, 66 x 270 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photos: Stefan Hagen.

David Rios Ferreira’s work merges images from children’s pop-culture with those from the postcolonial era to produce eerily alluring scenes. Reinterpreted cartoon characters perform imagined histories while embodying an interchange of cultural and historical forces. His images also explore site as a function of identity formation. Rios Ferreira’s project at Wave Hill consists of abundant line drawings, painted acetate and collaged prints installed on the windows of the Sun Porch with custom-cut sheets fitting into each windowpane. Together, the images reveal a complex landscape inhabited by hybrid forms and creatures that represent the impact of centuries of migration and displacement.

For this site-specific project, Rios Ferreira initiated the work through community engagement, conducting workshops with teenagers in youth programs at Wave Hill and at Casita Maria, two Bronx-based cultural institutions. The students created collages employing a “remixing” process using appropriated images that the artist provided, including 18th-century newspaper etchings, 1920s and ‘30s political cartoons, children’s book illustrations and architectural drawings of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings in the Bronx. As the son of a retired NYCHA maintenance employee and former resident of Bronx housing, Rios Ferriera felt it was important to give the teens an opportunity to tell their own stories through this creative process. In their workshops, the students invented fantastical characters of mixed identity, fusing disparate historical and pop cultural sources in ways which reminded Rios Ferreira of carnival figures found in Puerto Rican, Haitian and West African traditions. Incorporated into the artist’s collaged landscape, a number of these creatures arrive on, or encounter, large sailing vessels, a recurring motif in Rios Ferreira's work. They could be identified as colonial ships, pirate ships or slave ships. A collective narrative emerged through this collaborative process. Engaging with the natural scenery outside of Glyndor Gallery, the multilayered collage is a clash of cultures, contexts and time periods that creates an in-between space, one in which the body both bears and transforms historical memory.

And by each crime and every kindness (detail), 2017, C-print, acetate, gouache and collage mounted on window panes, 66 x 270 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Rios Ferreira received a BFA from The Cooper Union. He has exhibited at art institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Skylight Gallery, New York, NY; CoCA, Seattle, WA; Nemeth Art Center, Park Rapids, MN; and Kunstraum Richard Sorge Gallery, Berlin. He has participated in residencies and development programs at the Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY; the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY; the Emerge 11 Artist Fellowship at Aljira, Newark, NJ; the Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; and the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program. Awards include a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, as well as an Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.

Click here to learn more about the artist. A release about the 2017 season in the Sunroom Project Space is available here.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.