Rica Takashima

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 Blog

About FLOW.15 Tour

There were 5 FLOW.15 tours. There will be one more left.
My child is an 8th grader and taking exams for HS admission. As I am an immigrant parent, I have to run here and there to get unfamiliar information and many of session are held at evening times. I was not able to make all FLOW.15 tour as well as being held at evening time. However, I really enjoyed attending to tours and explaining people about the sculptures.

 “ Why do people see paintings by dead painters, to learn an art history? I want to see artworks by living artists to see our future!”
The words were by my child in first grade, when we visit to classic and academic art exhibition.
I started to think more seriously than before about what I can do as a living artist. I love alternative and social practice arts that reflect our real society nowadays. To me, a living artist, The FLOW.15 tour was event with a lot of meanings and values; artist talks about the artworks of own.
 I have had many encounters, incidents, and experiences. I can’t write all these down, as my English is still not enough to describe them and some of them are private, but I want to share at least some things that I found important here.
I heard many private impressions from people I never met yet via FB and Twitter, thanks to the SNS era. Beside these great feedbacks, it is a really precious time I meet real people at the tour. It teaches me a lot. (Click here to read more)

Memory of the Days at A's Wood Workshop

Praying Safe

Behind the Story of El Barrio Sculpture…

Sorry for late post, but I would love to share some of my Manga stories.
Please enjoy them!
Do you want to hear more stories?
Come and join the next FLOW tour!
I will be there on September 23th!
See you there!

To be continued...

Hand-written “→ El Barrio 0.7mile”

Did you see this hand written words on the back of the woman sculpture?When I didn’t fix my idea of the proposal for FLOW, I visited several places related to Puerto Rican cultures and East Harlem. I visited to Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, Taller Boricua, other several theater performance groups, and El Museo del Barrio. There, I saw an art show “PLAYING WITH FIRE: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions.” When I spoke to someone in the museum, I was told that they exhibit mainly activists’ performances, which use letters and billboards, and photos of murals. I was inspired to write letters directly on my pieces. I decided to write a sort of directional sign on the back of my sculpture’s shirt that says “El Barrio 0.7mile”, which is the distance between the location of the sculpture and Michelle’s cafe on Lexington Avenue and 104th Street. I enjoy mixing Puerto Rican culture, history, lively real life in El Barrio and my Manga.

The Artist

Rica Takashima(b. 1965, Tokyo, Japan)

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.

For More Information

Website: aozoraart.com