Kukuli Velarde – Superuvian, 2005
Acrylic on aluminum. 72″ x 48″
With Superuvian, Velarde re-invents herself as a comic-book superhero, struggling against the evil villain of gentrification. Inspired by her experience living in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood during a period of intense gentrification, Velarde’s superhero overhears invisible gentrifiers who want “no more starving artists and Section 8 dwellers!” Often seen as a passive process of change over which we as individuals have little control, Velarde underscores the fact that gentrification takes place when people make deliberate choices to exclude others for social, economic, or racial reasons. In this way, gentrification can be understood as a contemporary manifestation of the logic of colonization, the deliberate, sometimes violent, marginalization of ‘undesirables’–usually lower income people of color.
The work came into Taller’s collection in 2019