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David Rios Ferreira has exhibited in galleries and museums in the US and abroad including CoCA (Seattle, WA), Nemeth Art Center (Park Rapids, MN) and Kunstraum Richard Sorge Gallery (Berlin, Germany). He has held residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop (New York, NY), Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (New York, NY) and The Center for Book Arts (New York, NY). Rios Ferreira has participated in professional development programs such as Emerge 11 at Aljira (Newark, NJ) and the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program (Bronx, NY). Awards include a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, the Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, a National Association of Latino Arts & Culture Fund for the Arts grant and the ArtSlant Grand Prize. Recent exhibitions includeBronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial, The Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx, NY),And by each crime and every kindness, Sunroom Project Space at Wave Hill (Bronx, NY),Uprootat Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, NY) andMirrored by Natureat Welancora Gallery (Brooklyn, NY). David Rios Ferreira holds a BFA from The Cooper Union.


Artist Statement:

David Rios Ferreira merges historical etchings, 1930s political cartoons and children’s coloring books to produce eerily alluring abstract drawings and sculptures. Clusters of lines and layers of color dominate space creating dense hybrid forms. Familiar characters like Astro Boy, Pinocchio and Peter Pan are deconstructed and reconstituted to become temporal beings and repositories for personal and political histories.

This meditation on the past stems from Ferreira’s family history and his identity as a mainland Puerto Rican. There is his reflection on deculturalization practices conducted by the U.S. on children in Puerto Rico in the 1950s—strategies Ferreira’s parents remember as nursery rhymes and school pledges. Then there is the behavior exhibited by his nephews on the Autism Spectrum—of borrowing lines from cartoons in order to communicate. Their interest in animated films goes beyond childish obsession and becomes their source for language.

As his nephews remix existing material to navigate their world, Ferreira is drawn to comparable practices in carnival costumes and masks found in the Caribbean and West Africa. New identities are constructed from recycled fragments. Everyday objects become ingredients for structures of power, spiritual tradition, and tools for addressing social and political issues.

These different, yet structurally aligned practices serve as inspiration for Ferreira’s work. Coloring books and animation, historical references, and other appropriated images are his “found objects.” The tension between these objects, their meaning, and what they are imbued with in being forced together coalesce into a study on identity formation—an investigation of gender, sexuality, race and nation.

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