The American Experience - Artur Silva

artursilvablogpostimageTerra Central, print by Artur Silva

America.  How do you define it?  It's not easily defined, let alone described.  It's multifaceted, complicated, requires reflection, and is a fluid idea and experience.   Yet, there are main tenants that run through it, tying together what makes something truly American.

Artur Silva, a Harrison Center for the Arts studio artist, moved from New York to Indianapolis over eleven years ago.  His desire for authentic art is what brought him here.

Growing up in Brazil, he saw glimpses of American life through television.  "All I knew from the United States was based on their international policies which didn't match the sappy TV shows like Flipper and others."  He saw a dichotomy that enthralled him.  He needed to see for himself what it was like to live in the U.S.

Silva studied fine arts in his undergraduate.  After moving to the U.S. his art career began pursing what he called, "The American Experience."  "The American Experience" is an interpretation and presentation of what Silva sees as being integral to American society and culture.  His art reflects his observations.

The East and West coasts were too international for Silva.  He needed to observe and discover a more preserved American life.  He moved to the Midwest.  He landed in Indianapolis.

As his art has progressed so has his medium.  Initially, he preferred painting.  The American experience, however, was far too rich, according to Silva, to tell solely through paint.  "Art is an idea not a medium", he says.  He became multidisciplinary.  He believed he was loosing momentum by treating art as a medium and not an idea.

His work now includes video, digital prints, public installations, music, and festivals.  The portfolio includes commissions by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Sister Cities Festival to name a few.

"Culture is a Gun" is an installation that discusses the relationship between power and culture.  Artur used the the interaction between former President George Bush and music artist Kanye West in their emotional responses to hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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He continues to treat the theme of the American Experience, but he also deals with ideas much broader.

Cultural Cannibals is a multicultural party.  Music, art, dance, apparel all make up this monthly event.  Silva and friend, DJ Kyle Long, combined their love of Brazilian music and culture with American culture to form a giant dance party.  Initially, Silva and Long focused on Brazilian themes but have since been exposing attendees to Arabic, Indian, Mediterranean, and Caribbean worlds.  The desire is to broaden participants' cultural knowledge and experience.  "Culture by any means necessary" is their motto.  Their biggest event of the year, Carnival Brazil, takes place this February 9th at the Jazz Kitchen.

What's next for Silva who seemingly has not limits to his art? Currently, he is pursuing directing and producing videos.  Creating music videos is a new outlet for him to showcase his innovation and broad, rich strokes as an artist.

Silva's studio is located here at the Harrison Center.  Come First Fridays for a chance to meet this talented artist and discover how he's experiencing this American life.