CULTURAL GEOMETRY

locationTHE TENDERLOIN NATIONAL FORESTdateMay 9, 2009

Rigo was invited to design a walkway for the TNF… His vision to celebrate the special and evolving nature of the “ground in mosaic, yielded “Cultural Geometry” – a pathway that leads visitors into the Tenderloin National Forest and was created as a tribute and prayer to our ancestors, in particular the Ohlone Indians and all immigrants and peoples who have landed in San Francisco and other areas of “immersion.” The center piece, designed by Fernando Cardoso is an intimate plaza, and depicts a hummingbird – one of the “Forest’s” many special visitors, who can actually be seen flying by some mid-afternoons.

Cultural Geometry helps to formalize the transformation of Cohen Alley and symbolizes– to our very transitional and richly diverse neighborhood, a lasting engagement of the space with the community–a place for reflection, shared cultural activities and experiences.

The stone mosaic, per excellence a labor-of-love, very time consuming and laborious, manifests a relationship to the ground very different from the one embodied in asphalt and concrete. On a stone mosaic people are meant to walk, linger and interact with others. On concrete or asphalt loitering is a crime. Cohen Alley is a natural location for this project.

Bringing Fernando Cardoso from Portugal was an integral part of Rigo 23’s vision and desire to share an enduring yet undervalued cultural tradition of his native country. In bringing this tradition to our neighborhood and our City he wanted to weave two vernacular traditions: Portuguese calçada and Ohlone basket weaving – to honor and celebrate our ancestors and affirm the possibility of multiple worlds co-existing in time and place. This in many way parallels the “ways” of the residents of theTenderloin, many of whom are immigrants, and bring and attempt to carry on their cultural practices, traditions and religions within our very special neighborhood. In our eyes, these actions and desires create a true Cultural Geometry.

Rigo 23 has completed many works of public art, commissioned projects, self-initiated projects, temporary and permanent works, and has worked locally and internationally in very disparate contexts. He created a stone mosaic for the main thoroughfare of Lisbon’s WorldFair Expo’98; tile mosaic murals at San Francisco and Madeira Island’s International Airports; murals in several housing projects in the suburbs of Lisbon; a
twice life-size sculptures for San José State University and iron cages for St. George’s Hall stone lions in Liverpool. Often involving issues of social justice Rigo 23 has also sought to collaborate with workers from different crafts in his art practice, such as stonemasons, tile setters, and embroiderers. Rigo 23 is represented in San Francisco by Gallery Paule Anglim.