Portals are a popular concept in science fiction, allowing visitors to transcend time, space, and place. the UFAthe new exhibition of Transcend time and spaceblends ideas, philosophies, mediums and concepts to create a series of “portals” that fuse science fiction with Indigenous cultural and spiritual traditions, all with the goal of raising awareness of Indigenous social issues and raising awareness. personal consciousness of the viewer.
The exhibition, which is housed in the UFAit is Acme Laboratoryis a collaboration between David Rios Ferreiravisual artist, independent curator and museum professional, and Denae Shanidiina Utah-based artist of Dine and Korean descent and an activist with Restoration of the Ancient Winds.
The exhibition features a range of eclectic mediums (abstract drawings, collages, photographs and videos) and a variety of visuals (popular science fiction images, historical photographs, indigenous artworks, elements of nature and neon lines and concentric circles). The main theme of the exhibition concerns imaginary portals and walkways that transport the visitor to another “plane” through the intersection of science fiction and the spiritual. Each piece has layers of meaning, guiding the viewer to a portal in which they are compelled to examine their place in historical human experience and reflect on the many injustices present in the world today.
“The main theme of the exhibit is about imaginary portals and walkways that transport the visitor to another “plane” through the intersection of science fiction with the spiritual.”
Ferreira was moved in part by the ever-increasing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples – something he explores in collaboration with Shanidiin as the exhibition combines community-based art-making, imaginary time travel and spirituality as vector of reflection on love, loss and memory. . The exhibition features several distinct areas, demonstrating the diversity of portals and the many ways to connect with others through distance and loss (of all kinds) – a theme more relevant than ever these days.
Ferreira is brightly colored bridge series welcomes the visitor as soon as he enters. The six pieces (c-print, collage and gouache on polypropylene) feature vibrant neon color gradients in concentric circles and lines of varying thicknesses, subtly interspersed with telescope-quality images of outer space and of greenery in the shape of a crown. The lines take the form of sci-fi artifacts from popular culture, including the Millennium Falcon. To create his portals, Ferreira deconstructs his source imagery, reforming it, and reorienting it into what he calls “temporal beings” in which past and present coexist, using popular imagery to be “relevant to this space and this community” with a “specific aesthetic that speaks to this place and these people. Additionally, Shanidiin emphasizes that “the heart of Indigenity is being cosmically and earthly connected to relationships.”
Ferreira continues to fuse historical imagery with Indigenous symbology and pop culture in the piece, Have you seen me? Did you hear me? Did you hear it? Did you hear us? did you find me? (marker, gouache and collage on mylar), a dense and abstract hybrid work. The piece was created to raise awareness of many contemporary First Nations issues, including missing and murdered Indigenous peoples. Ferreira notes that he uses abstract imagery to depict the lives of missing persons by “bringing realism to abstract social issues”.
“[Transcending Time and Space] to prove[es] the diversity of portals and the many ways to connect with others across distance and loss (of all kinds) – a topic more relevant than ever these days.
A series of four photographs, Ha’aa’aah (East), Shádi’ááh (South), E’e’aah (West), “Náhookös (North) and videos guide visitors through “community-created walkways” or “non-portraits” that express the love, loss and memory of Indigenous community members.
Finally, the large three-dimensional format Messages across time and space features a black velvet void, mimicking a portal that invites visitors to contemplate “those they may have lost, those they miss from a distance, and even those they haven’t met yet” by writing a message on a piece of black paper and throwing it into the “empty”.
Each exhibition portal is its own unique work of art, drawing visitors not only into the rooms, but also into their own psyches and experiences and encouraging them to reflect on their place in time and space and on the human experience as a whole. Transcend time and space will be exhibited at UFA until December 4, 2022. The museum is open from Wednesday to December 4, 2022. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thu.–Sat. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be reserved in advance at UMFA.utah.edu/visit.
Learn more about past UMFA exhibitions here:
A space in time: Space Maker reflects the links between place and identity
Using Storytelling to Protect Salt Lake Valley Waterways: The Confluence Exhibit at UMFA