Sergio Vega, Birds of Paradise (color chart murals), 2020, ceramic pigment on porcelain tile, PS 143 Addition, Queens
Birds of Paradise (color chart murals) is a site-specific art installation made of five digitally printed ceramic murals, one for each floor for the PS 143 Queens new addition. Created by artist Sergio Vega, the murals feature photographs of parrots amidst brightly colored rectangular shapes. The idea of paradise - how it has been perceived and sought after throughout history by different cultures - has been a central interest for the artist throughout his career. As part of his research, the artist visited Mato Grosso, Brazil, considered by some scholars to be the original location of the Garden of Eden. The photographs in the schools’ murals were taken during this trip where he discovered hundreds of different parrot species living together in the wild in this one special location.
In addition to symbolizing paradise, the parrot also embodies two very unique qualities – it is the only animal that ‘speaks’ and it is nature’s most colorful animal, exhibiting more colors in its feathers than any other creature. The artist emphasized this characteristic by selecting individual colors from the parrots’ feathers, drawing them out and expanding them into abstract color forms within the composition. The resulting contrast between realism and abstraction is intended to make the viewer search for the connections between these two seemingly unconnected worlds.
With this installation, Vega aims to transform the school into its own paradise. The special qualities of the parrot represent those of each student and the many layers of content are inspiration to explore and learn more about all its subjects.