Neil “Clavo” Rivas is an interdisciplinary artist whose work stems from his roles as a documentarian, educator, and activist. Using photography, collected objects, and pop culture iconography, he is invested in aesthetic politics and creating tactical interventions within social, cultural, and political contexts. Much of his work has been used for educational purposes, journalism, activist tools, and as legal evidence.

Rivas’ diverse projects have come in a range of forms, including multimedia installations, video, life size cardboard cut-outs, posters, performances, and community-based projects. He is the creator of the U.S. Department of Illegal Superheroes, as well as Clavo’s School for Young Superheroes (SYS) – a traveling school inspired by the institute where the X-Men are educated in the Marvel Comics universe. His documentary work has covered numerous social movements and political events, including the migrant rights movement in the U.S., the 2009 military coup in Honduras, the 2009 historic presidential race in El Salvador, the South Central Farm, Occupy Oakland, and La Vela de las Intrépidas in Juchitán, Oaxaca.

Rivas’ work has been shown and performed at venues such as the Museum of Latin American Art, Museo de Arte de El Salvador, Palacio Nacional de Cultura de Guatemala, Cartoon Art Museum, MOCA Tempe, UC Berkeley's Arts Research Center, Loyola Marymount University, Yale University, University Art Museum at CSU Long Beach, Galería de la Raza, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, SOMArts Cultural Center, Southern Exposure, Root Division, Berkeley Art Center, and Brucennial 2012.

He has done residencies at Intersection for the Arts, Galería de la Raza, espacioce! in Antigua, Guatemala, and Morfo in Guatemala City. He has been the recipient of several awards and his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, NBC, CNN Español, NPR, ArtInfo, Art Practical, MTV tr3s, Univision, Colorlines Magazine, and more, including media in Spain, France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, The Netherlands, China, and Australia.

Rivas received his BFA in Art Photography from California State University, Long Beach, and his MFA in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts. He is currently based in Oakland, CA, and will soon be an artist-in-residence at Angel Island State Park.

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