top of page
Screenshot 2023-07-05 at 12.21.01 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-09-13 at 11.32.16 AM.png

Tariku Shiferaw
with Charles M. Schultz

 written by Charles M. Schultz, The Brooklyn Rail, 2023

When curator Rachel Vera Steinberg approached Tariku Shiferaw about an exhibition she was organizing at Smack Mellon that would be called You’d Think By Now, she had a particular wall she wanted to offer. By any standards it was a large. For Shiferaw it was the largest anyone had ever proposed, and he gamely accepted what he viewed as a gargantuan challenge.

This was 2022, when Shiferaw was working out of a studio on the twenty-eighth floor of 4 World Trade Center, along with a cohort of fellow artists, supported by Silver Art Projects. Out of that arrangement came the monumental installation, A Strange Place to Cast Our Dreams, presented in Steinberg’s exhibition. Upon that gigantic wall the artist mounted seven canvases—each twenty-four feet tall by eight-feet wide—edge to edge. Dark and deep blue, the wall was transformed into a night sky, beside which ceramic sculptures in the shapes of crates rested on the floor, emanating the sound of train doors, chanting, protests, and much else. 

These themes continue in his current exhibition, Marking Onself in Dark Places. In late summer I visited the artist’s studio in the Bronx as he was finishing preparations on the final canvases. We talked about the night sky as a site where different civilizations have inscribed their visions of the world, the influence of mythologies on the order of social codes, and what it means when boundaries become porous.



Portrait of Tariku Shiferaw.

Pencil on paper by Phong H. Bui.

Screenshot 2023-08-30 at 5.48.53 PM.png
bottom of page