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Silvia López Chavez

David Smith

May 14, 2022

Provoking Collective Consciousness

Silvia López Chavez is inspiring to myself and should be to many other art activist who seek to awaken the consciousness of the public on the diaspora of minority communities living here in America. I could go on for pages about her and her work but instead I will refer to segments of her artist statement and bio.

(Silvia López Chavez speaking)- I am a Dominican-American painter and designer. My artwork is informed by my identities as an Afro-Caribbean woman living in the diaspora, and intends to celebrate, inform, and inspire connection on multiple levels: personally, culturally, and with the environment.

My creative process is fueled by understanding the site's context and its relationship to how the public engages with that space. The imagery incorporates layered graphic elements juxtaposed with realistically rendered areas with an unapologetic bold color palette. The visual collective is meant to be approachable and understood by diverse audiences.

For López Chavez, every project provides its own context. She begins with a site-specific inquiry into the client or community’s goals that often surfaces the desire to bring awareness to contemporary issues of social and environmental justice. As evidenced by many of her celebrated murals, her work in the public realm provokes collective consciousness and inspires joint ownership of the art by virtue of its place keeping process. She is a frequent collaborator with urban planners, architects, non-profits, developers, and activists on public art projects.

Boston Children's Museum Installation

Interconnected, is a site-specific installation at Boston Children’s Museum, on view from November 16, 2019 – March 9, 2020. The exhibit instigated conversations on how we are all connected and part of a greater whole. A video illustrates how paper pulp shapes are made, highlighting the energy and resources it takes to create objects that we see as “trash.” Some of the most important environmental efforts include conserving energy and reducing water consumption, but how pollution can be reduced by recycling and finding new ways to reuse. Visitors were invited to interact with paper pulp pieces, to spark curiosity and imagination to transform everyday objects. Materials include recycled molded paper pulp packaging, stencils, and bright colorful paints.

Chelsea Resilience Mural

Inspiration for this mural comes from the people of Chelsea, who, as a community, come together to lift each other, working in unity to thrive during challenging times. The imagery features diverse hands modeled by Chelsea youth. The hands hold flags with words in ten different languages currently spoken in Chelsea: Resilience, unity (Spanish), perseverance (French Creole), pride (Portuguese), diversity (Chinese), togetherness (Vietnamese), strength (Hindi), determination (Somali), and courage (Amharic). A garden of national flowers blooms across the wall representing 33 countries of origin and foreign-born residents in Chelsea's demographics. The mural celebrates the diverse people of Chelsea, shining a joyful light on the resilience and collective strength that makes this community so beautiful.

Public Art: Central SQ. Mural Project, Cambridge, MA

‘Creative Freedom’ installed at the Cambridge Public Library’s Central Square branch, takes inspiration from the library’s mission, and celebrates ways in which libraries serve communities. The design makes use of dynamic colors and graphic elements such as flying birds and pages turning into paper planes, books, with two focal points which are more rendered figurative areas at the corners of Franklin and Green streets. The Pearl Street façade incorporates words and patterns that serve as wayfinding mechanisms to identify the entrance more clearly.

Hood Park Mural

"Connected Through Time" is a mural at Hood Park in Charlestown, MA, commissioned by HP Hood to celebrate its 175th anniversary. The concept highlights Hood's values and history of innovation, quality, and sustainability. The mural encompasses three walls filled with color, graphical elements, and shapes that create a sense of movement and visual connection. The focal point depicts two women embracing in celebration of moving forward. It's personal and joyful, welcoming everyone to the neighborhood. The number 175 also takes a prominent graphic role and overlaps with a vintage glass bottle, paying homage to this year's celebration of Hood's commitment to its community.

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