Black Lives/Black Matters
curated by Laura James and featuring work by Moses Ros, Evan Bishop, and Alexis Mendoza
Artists Moses Ros, Evan Bishop, and Alexis Mendoza reveal site-specific large-scale paper art installations in the windows of Fordham Plaza through a collaboration between the New York City Department of Transportation and nonprofit Chashama. The exhibition, titled BLACK LIVES/BLACK MATTERS was curated by Laura James and will be on view at the plaza outside the Metro North Fordham Station at 1 Fordham Plaza through November 30th, 2020.
Black Lives/Black Matters is an installation that celebrates the worldwide BLM movement and acknowledges this unique moment in our nation’s history, where issues of racism are being brought out into the open. For the fourth presentation in this series, the three selected artists will use paper as their main medium to create a site-specific window installation.
Creating constantly during the pandemic, Bronx based artist Moses Ros has been included in several virtual and gallery exhibitions over the past few months, from adding a design to the impromptu plywood outdoor art galleries in Soho to displaying new work in the windows at Harlem’s Sugar Hill Children’s Museum Ros is determined to spread his message of love, hope, and peace. Ros’ installation, LOVE SUPREME, is meant to evoke a high-end boutique shop display; but instead of your typical labels, Ros imagines a sort of logo for Black Lives Matter. Hoping that viewers pick up on the irony, the artwork is also inscribed with the words, “It is a luxury to live without fear in America.”
Bronx native Evan Bishop has also been active during the pandemic and was one of the principal artists to work on the Black Lives Matter street mural near Yonkers’ City Hall. In this presentation, Bishop reprises old characters he created in the 80s, the “BigHeadz,” caricatures of the artist, and his childhood friends. The piece consists of 9 colorfully painted “BigHeadz” each holding a balloon, together spelling out the word COMMUNITY. Bishop’s intention is to celebrate the young people of color in the Fordham area and to share his characters of familiar faces to reinforce positive imagery with another generation of children.
Finally, Alexis Mendoza’s huge installation occupies the windows facing Fordham Plaza. Although his piece is rendered in Mendoza’s typical abstract expressionism, the imagery in “Black Lives, Black Soil, Black Souls” also seems familiar, and a tree can be made out if you look long enough. Mendoza’s pallet, consisting of traditional African liberation colors, black, red, yellow, and green, and the brown foreground which includes actual soil from Africa, also gives a feeling of comfort.
In seemingly uncertain times, we are happy to add a bit of artistic color and happiness to Fordham Road.
About the Artists
Moses Ros is a Dominican-American sculptor, painter, and printmaker that lives and works in the Bronx. Ros has created large-scale public art commissions for the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Bronx Council for the Arts, and New York City Housing Authority, in addition to stained-glass windows for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Ros has had solo exhibitions at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York, the Paterson Museum in New Jersey, the Bronx Museum, and El Instituto de Cultura y Arte in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Evan Bishop is a two-time ArtsWestchester Grant recipient that was born and raised in the Bronx during the 70s. This provided him with the perfect environment for a lifetime love of visual arts. With the emergence of Hip-Hop as a global cultural movement in the ‘80s, he gravitated to the visual expression of the culture, graffiti. During my teens, Bishop discovered the power of painting bright and big murals as a tool to convey a message and capture the attention of the public. Bishop’s style possesses the bold, vibrant colors reminiscent of graffiti art. My private work depicts my social views, my spiritual truths, and my love of Black people and culture.
In 2017 Bishop, along with fellow artist Katori Walker, produced The 100 Words Of Wisdom Exhibit. This photo exhibition featured body art on 141 senior citizens, including Majority Leader New York State Senator Andrea Steward cousins. During 2018 and 2019, the two continued on to produce The YES YONKERS! Community Quilt Project, an all-inclusive Yonkers public art activity is unofficially considered the largest community art project in the history of Yonkers.
Alexis Mendoza is an artist; a writer and an independent curator who presently lives in the Bronx, New York. Mendoza graduated from the National School of Fine Art in San Alejandro, Havana, Cuba in 1988, and received a Masters in Art History from Havana University in 1994. Mendoza’s artwork has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Mendoza is also the co-founder and co-creator of the Bronx Latin American Art Biennial and a founding member of BxArts Factory.