FLOW.15: Rica Takashima
The Project: El Barrio Comes in All Colors, Shapes and Sizes
Rica Takashima’s El Barrio Comes in All Colors, Shapes and Sizes blends her Manga aesthetic with Puerto Rican colors and motifs inspired by the artist’s exploration of East Harlem’s El Barrio, just across the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge from Randall’s Island Park. A central female figure, constructed of brightly painted wood, invites visitors to sit and gaze with her across the Harlem River. She is surrounded by smaller structures that reflect buildings containing her past, present and future life in El Barrio: her birthplace; a café she owns and operates in the neighborhood; and the home of her dream child of the future. A native of Japan, Takashima is inspired by the residents and history of El Barrio, and by the intersection of personal and political action. Her piece invites visitors to join in exploration and appreciation of the vibrant community just opposite the Park’s shoreline.
The Artist: Rica Takashima
Rica Takashima’s questions towards traditional Japanese patriarchal family values and discrimination against LGBT people motivated her to start conceptual participatory public art and large scale street installations. Since 1995, she expanded her portfolio to Manga (Japanese comic books) as well. Using fun modes of expression, she challenges viewers to rethink their pre-existing social values and customs regarding things like gender, age and race, and to feel more empathy towards different elements of society. Rica was born in Tokyo, Japan. She immigrated to the United States with her family, and currently lives in New York. Rica received a B.A. from Tokyo University of Arts, Japan.