FACES FROM THE BLOCK - THE BRAZILIAN BRONX CONNECTION
Faces from the Block is an 8-year collaboration between South Bronx
Puerto Rican photographer Ricky Flores and Brazilian artists Izolag and
Ananda Nahu. It was born by happenstance when the Brazilian artists found Flores’s work on Flickr, a online social media photo sharing site around 2008. They quickly became fascinated with his work and began incorporating some of the images in a series of paintings representing cultures from around the world. It was during this period of time a collaborative process was
developed with the goal of creating a joint exhibition and murals here on
the streets of the South Bronx. The collaboration is an explosive and loving interpretation of the residents of the South Bronx through the eyes of Izolag and Ananda. They depict friends and family from his youth, seen through the lens of time and distance based on the stories Izolag and Ananda heard in
Brazil about life in the South Bronx during the fire years of the 60s that ended in the wasteland of the 80’s.
The body of photographs resonated with their own experiences of life in the streets of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro and they were inSpired by the resiliency of the people of the South Bronx and their influence in art, music, dance and culture and the birth of the Hip Hop movement.The body of artwork that Izolag and Ananda created from Flores’photography range from line drawings, fine art paintings and large murals created with stencils and filled out with warm colors of the tropics and laced throughout with textile patterns influenced by cultures from Africa and the Orient.
The exhibition will take place at BronxArtSpace 305 E 140thSt 1A, Bronx, New York City
from July 8th - through August 8, 2015.
The Artist Talk will take place on August 6 at 6 pm.
Gallery contact number is 718-401-8144
Gallery hours are Wed-Sat, 12pm-6:30pm
Ricky Flores was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents in 1961. His
father,Pastor Flores, a merchant seaman, and his mother,Ana Luisa Flores, a garment worker, lived in the Tremont section of the Bronx during the early 60’s. Flores' father died in 1965 from bronchial asthma and his mother moved the family to Longwood section of the Bronx , where he was raised.
Flores started documenting life in the South Bronx after he purchased a camera with a small inheritance he received from his father in 1980. It started a journey of self-discovery born out of photographing the lives of his friends and family during one of the most turbulent times in the history of Bronx and New York City. Over the years Flores free-lanced for The Daily News, The
New York Times, The City Sun and The Village Voice. Flores was recognized for his coverage of the attacks on World Trade Center on September 11, 2001
and is a two time winner of the New York Press Publishers Association for Spot News. He has a permanent installation at I.S. 206 in the Tremont section of the Bronx commissioned by the School Construction Authority New York City Board of Education and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. He is currently a staff photographer for The Journal News in Westchester, New York.
Izolag was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1983. He became in terested in drawing as a child in the interior of Bahia where he lived until his teens. During that time, he devoted himself to humanitarian work, worked in organizations that helped the poorest members of the community to fight hunger and child malnutrition. Along with the community workers, he helped people put in simple and effective practices to improve food quality and sanitation, as well as participated actively in conservation groups that taught ecological awareness and sustainable living.
He studied fine arts at the Federal University of Bahia, and there deepened his
knowledge of graffiti, stencil, poster and the calligraphy art form. He took to the streets and made large stencils refining his techniques. He developed various styles of calligraphy, from the most classic to modern, creating his own style. He has become a pioneer in the stencil art form in Brazil and is known for creating large murals using this technique filling out the work with multiple layers of color. The images take on a life-like quality. He recently broke the world record when he created a stencil measuring 50 by 20 meters. A large portion of his work is based on children living in conditions of risk, living in shelters and on the streets. He has partnered with social activists and photographers from around the world to help these children and workers to build a better future. Izolag has sold hundreds of paintings across Europe, collectors include corporations, European prisons, and various galleries spread across the world.
Ananda Nahu was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil, in 1985. She attended Faculty
of Design and Fine Arts of the Federal University of Bahia. During this period,
she studied photography, engraving, lithography, silkscreen, etching and used
these techniques in creating posters. She developed techniques with
stencils and created artwork influenced by elements of contemporary art and
textile artwork from African and the Orient. This mixture of styles, colors, visual aspects, painting techniques and diversity of materials is a striking feature in Ananda's work. The process of creation and execution of her paintings unites digital manipulation with the physical creation of the artwork, adding a modern process in producing a traditional handmade artwork. With this as a foundation you can see the integration of cultural references and the diversity of people, harmoniously working and interacting together in the same composition, which transmit messages of strength, beauty and the divine
nature of the human being. All this is informed by Ananda’s own history and country where the diversity of nature and races is the main characteristic.
Ananda was recently selected by CNN Style as one of "Seven creatives redefining Brazilian art and design."
The Biggest Stencil of the World
Mural made by Izolag, background by Ananda Nahu, side of building downtown Rio de Janeiro.
Ananda Nahu Street Art videos:
Ananda Nahu One Big City project ( based on Ricky F
lores files )
About Ricky Flores:
About Firme Forte Records ( When Izolag and Ananda Nahu works together for Art productions )