Nelson Fory Ferreira One month after being known in that island

Nelson Fory Ferreira (b. 1986) is a video, performance, and public intervention artist who lives and works in his native Cartagena. Upon graduating from Colombia’s Institución Universitaria Bellas Artes y Ciencias de Bolívar in 2009, he became an ethnoeducational professor at the Institución Educativa Arroyo de Piedra in Cartagena. As a member of the RoZtro Art Collective in Cartagena and as a solo artist, Ferreira has shown and performed his work in numerous exhibitions and events throughout Colombia, including, most recently, ¿Suficientemente Negro? “Black Enough” at the Centro Cultural Colombo- Americano in Bogotá in 2020.

ON VIEW: ¡La Historia Nuestra, Caballero! (Our History, Sir!), 2008–Present

ON VIEW: ¡La Historia Nuestra, Caballero! (Our History, Sir!), 2008–Present

Some experts from Brian Fee’s interview with Nelson Fory Ferreira.

Q: Public interventions and protests are a big part of your practice. How does this piece reflect your larger practice?

A: My practice is about uncovering both the visibility and invisibility of how we, as a culture, relate to history, to black memory, and to the current way in which we are being recolonized by foreign companies. For this reason, I consider it appropriate that my contribution be linked to that of those demanding history be told as it truly happened or is happening, in order to achieve real historical recognition. I want that recognition to be not just in written text. I want it to become an integral part of a new society that is gradually succeeding at overcoming discrimination and integrating individuals into dynamics of dialogue and co existence. Last year, for example, as a member of RoZtro Art Collective, I participated an exhibition entitled ¿Suficientemente Negro?, which was about highlighting the life and work of the first and only black Colombian president, Juan José Nieto Gil, who held that position for just six months in 1861 and has largely been whitewashed out of history, and whose only known portrait has been kept hidden in the basement of Cartagena’s historical archive. My project for that show, A Cruel Touch, is a video work based on that hidden portrait, but focusing on an image of Melchor Pérez, a champeta singer, whose songs are about black history in Latin America. In the video, Melchior’s physical appearance is digitally painted, but slowly his natural ethnicity is transformed into a Caucasian one.

Q: And what artists do you admire most?

A: I’ve been deeply affected by artists working on the anti-monument and counter-memory subjects. I admire Maya Lin for the way she found to commemorate those killed in the Vietnam War. I love Claes Oldenburg’s controversial approach to public art. I adore Sol LeWitt’s work, especially the simplicity of his Black Form, which is dedicated to the missing Jews. And I have been especially moved by Jochen Gerz, a German artist whose Monument Against Racism involved clandestinely en graving the names of 2,146 Jewish cemeteries on 2,146 cobblestones in front of the parliament building in the city of Saarbrücken. These non-monument monuments reflect a new aesthetic debate involving the themes of invisibility and emptiness that motivates my own work.


To explore the other artists on view, click here.
To view the exhibtion One month after being known on that island, click here.

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