Assistant Professor Daniela Rivera a finalist for the 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize
Published: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Updated: Friday, October 8, 2010 12:10
Daniela Rivera, an assistant professor of art at Wellesley, is one of the nine Boston-area artists chosen as a finalist for the prestigious, biennial 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize. Established in 1999 and sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), the Foster Prize provides ICA exhibition space to all the finalists and will award one winner $25,000 in January 2011. Rivera's recent work, ranging in topic from walls to cultural identity, is also on display in the "Calculated Risks" exhibit at the Davis Museum and in the "Beyond Purview" exhibit in the New Art Center in Newtonville.
"It was a surprise to be nominated," says Rivera. "I already feel like a winner. I never expected to be a finalist." Rather than focusing on winning, however, Rivera is grateful for the many rewarding opportunities in the Foster Prize program. She has been able to meet and connect with other finalists and has since kept up an open dialogue of critique and encouragement with these talented artists. Additionally, the ICA exhibition space provides a large audience for Rivera's work. "There is a level of exposure at the ICA," she enthusiastically explains. "It is a constant flow of people looking at the work." Rivera also enjoyed working with the ICA museum curators, who were receptive and sensitive to her input during the entire process of installing her artwork. "The Institute of Contemporary Art's Foster Prize is not a classical museum show," elaborates Rivera. "The artists are very present with the installation look."
Wellesley students can easily access her engaging work at the Davis Museum. The "Calculated Risks" exhibit features both a collaboration between Rivera and Christine Rogers, a visiting lecturer at Wellesley, titled "Walls," and Rivera's individual project, called "Works on Paper." For their collaboration, Rivera and Rogers traveled to various famous museums in London, Paris, Turin and Madrid. At each museum they took pictures of walls to incorporate into their exhibit.
"I love collaborating," comments Rivera. "It enriches the process as a critical dialogue and support. The other part is the fact that there's someone else working in the room who's also interested in the same issues." Rivera and Rogers hope to send their thought-provoking exhibit to other museums around the world. In "Works on Paper," Rivera incorporated local elements by using paper from recycling bins around campus. "[The Wellesley community] has provided certainty and confidence that ideas of my work are significant ideas, [such as ideas of] migration and hybridization of culture," Riviera said.
Many of her ideas about the reconciliation of distinct cultures resonate with her students. Her international students express similar ideas of struggling with two separate cultures and heritages. "The other day, I had a long conversation with a student from Korea about the same issues addressed in my work," recounts Rivera. As for the intersection between teaching and creating art, Rivera says, "I've never separated the two." She expands with, "I wouldn't be able to be the artist I am if I didn't do teaching and research."
Rivera still remembers when she used to work as a gallery guard at the ICA. Now, as an artist exhibiting at the ICA, she wryly observes, "I've been in every single side of being an artist."
The ICA's 2010 James & Audrey Foster Prize exhibition will be on display at the ICA, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, through Jan. 17. Closed Mondays.