UMFA’s ‘Transcending Time and Space’ is a Gateway to Love, Loss and Memory


David Rios Ferreira: Transcending Time and Space Exhibition at the UMFA in Salt Lake City, Utah (Courtesy UMFA)

By Alfonso Belloso, Arts Writer


The Utah Museum of Fine Arts unveiled the latest exhibition presented by ACME Lab titled “Transcending Time and Space” by David Rios Ferreira, featuring work and writing by Denae Shanidiin

The exhibition represents a gateway into the mysterious. A glimpse into the ineffable. Visitors are encouraged to contemplate and connect with those we’ve lost, have yet to meet or exist far from our physical presence. 

Within and Without

We have a repository of centuries of history that we carry within our blood cells and carry that within our soul,” Ferreira stated at the Artist Talk hosted by the UMFA. “How can that start to manifest and what does that look like in the visual form?”  

“Transcending Time and Space” represents a gateway to connect with parts of cultures and traditions through collages, photographs, abstracted drawings and interactive installations. Ferreira’s work is presented in collaboration with Shanidiin’s writing which brings awareness to the devastation of missing and murdered Indigenous people.


The exhibition begins with “Gateways,” a collection of celestial drawings used as a beacon for connecting with those we’ve lost, and those who have come before us. The ongoing tragedy of missing Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ individuals in this country is the motivation behind the art piece.

“We’re responding to the violence perpetrated on Indigenous people and it’s a lot of work,” Shanidiin said at the UMFA Q&A. “There’s a lot of abuse that happens in the process of using our voices. The awareness is growing, but right now nothing is being done to address the silence.”

Gateways is followed up with four photographs titled: “Ha’a’aah, East. Shádi’ááh, South. E’e’aah, West. Náhookòs, North.” The surrealist photographs are paired with knowledge from a Diné worldview. The territory of Utah is the ancestral homeland of the Diné, Timpanogos & Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute Tribes.

A Message Through Time and Space

The exhibition concludes with a “Message Through Time and Space,” an interactive installation that encourages visitors to write a message to someone that is missed or a person one has yet to meet. The message is delivered through a “portal” represented by a black hole. The words are sent to the past, present and future. A wish. A promise to return back to the center.  

“We create beautiful, beautiful things to honor our bodies with,” Shanidiin said as her closing remark from the artist talk. “The things that we make have meaning. And when we adorn ourselves with them, our ancestors can see us and recognize us. And when we create, we create for people, and I think that’s what David’s doing in this work.”

“That’s what I try to do in my work. If art doesn’t have purpose, and if it doesn’t have those connections to relationality, and honoring someone, healing someone, moving someone, pleasure, love, all the things, then what’s the point?”


“Transcending Time and Space” is open to the public now through Dec. 4 at the UMFA. Information and resources regarding missing and murdered Indigenous people can be found at here.


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