Nereida Patricia is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Chicago whose practice spans sculpture, text, and performance, exploring themes of history, trans poetics, and identity. Her work draws from postcolonial and feminist theory, Peruvian symbolism, and autobiographical fragments to build new mythologies around the transformation of the human body.
A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Patricia takes inspiration from Arpillera tapestries, a form of art originating from Chile. The brightly coloured burlap textiles rose to prominence during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Her work focuses on how racially and gender marginalised groups endure prejudices that in many cases result in harm or even death.
The pieces involve subjects from the queer community and those living and working on the streets, not as an act of memorial but as an "exploration into their quest for survival". Morose allusions exist through her figures' death drops and exposed skeletons. Yet her characters are contrasted by flocks of doves and saturation of sexual strength; a pornographic collage exploring transformation, as well as the ongoing contortion required to survive and navigate harmful postcolonial systems that purposefully omit them from consideration or support.
Some of her latest beaded relief works are currently on show at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, in an exhibition featuring conceptual artist Karen Reimer and artist Antonius Tín Bui, until 14 August. The beads catch the light perfectly and dance across the walls. Her work encapsulates the need to speak on behalf of communities that do not have a voice; she fights against gender-based violence, including trans violence and black trans violence.
On the topic of her work, Nereida told New City Art: "Trans people are magic," she says. "There's this whole kind of magic and mythology that I'm always chipping away at."
Her pieces of work are both colourful yet animated and created with intricate detail. The subjects at the heart of her work are of all shapes, colours, and sizes. If you look closely, you can see the thousands of glass beads that make up the portraits. This unique style of textile making has leapt off the page and taken Chicago by storm.