The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University is launching a new collaborative project this fall in support of its mission to encourage creative thinking and promote cross-campus collaboration through the arts.
For this new series, the Moody will periodically invite a local artist to conceive a work for a prominent wall space, titled the Project Wall, inside its architecturally award-winning building. The artist will work closely with Rice students and community members in creating an original, large-scale design, which will be on view for several months.
Gerardo Rosales will be the inaugural artist for the series that started in October. Born in Venezuela, Rosales is a multidisciplinary artist working in Houston for 20 years. Rosales started his career as a self-taught artist before attending Armando Reverón Art Institute in Caracas, Venezuela, and earning an M.A. from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.
His art examines issues of class, race, gender and sexuality through stark images infused with humor while emphasizing drama. He has created several projects in and around Houston, notably at the Lawndale Art Center Holocaust Museum Houston and Galveston Arts Center.
“My artwork explores issues of social injustice and inequality derived from the legacy of colonialism,” Rosales said. “My reflections are informed by the places where I have lived, and I create dialogues to challenge views on issues of class, race and immigration. My iconography draws from my experience as an immigrant to the United States and my upbringing in Venezuela.”
He added, “My work is multidisciplinary, referencing everyday objects that have symbolic value, such as video games, wallpaper, wrapping paper, children’s books, cartoon imagery, children’s toys and piñatas. The ornamental dimensions of these objects facilitate my interest to infiltrate messages that denounce abuses of power.”
For the inaugural installation, Rosales will develop a visual program that investigates popular mythologies and spiritual traditions in South American culture and how those are fueled by socio-sociopolitical factors.
The Moody has invited students from the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice (HACER) to work with the artist in creating and executing a symbolic vocabulary for the wall painting.
“The Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice strives to be an inclusive space for people of Latinx descent and for people who want to learn about the beautiful intricacies of the Hispanic culture, to connect with others of Latin descent and help move the Hispanic community forward,” said Ana Saucedo and Yessenia Ramos Silva, co-presidents of HACER.
“Through this collaboration with Gerardo Rosales, we aim to highlight Hispanic/Latinx talent and leave a mark on campus. We are using our voice through art to celebrate our Hispanic heritage, and all of its complexities.”
The larger Rice community will also have the opportunity to participate. This first iteration of the Project Wall series will be on view Oct. 15, the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, and will be activated through multicultural community festivities.
— Frauke V. Josenhans
Moody Center for the Arts