‘EVIL ROBOTS!’ invade Richmond art world

Harper sisters join artistic forces for NIAD exhibition
NIAD Art Center is located at 551 23rd St. in Richmond. (Photo credit: Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Evil Robots have invaded Richmond. Fortunately, they’re observing social distancing protocols by congregating online as part of NIAD Art Center’s current art exhibition.

The online exhibition, aptly titled “EVIL ROBOTS!,” features works by a wide range of NIAD-based artists as selected by Miles Opie Rodriguez, a 20-year-old Portland, Oregon resident who has autism. Check it out here.

“We’re in a bit of a dystopic moment right now,” stated NIAD Executive Director Amanda Eicher in an announcement about the exhibition. “And it sure would be great to blame some evil robots for it…Well, Miles Rodriguez—a big fan of the Terminator franchise films—has crafted a superb show that reminds us COVID-19 is not the only thing to fear.”

On NIAD’s exhibition page, Rodriguez elaborated on his reasons behind his theme.

“Why did I pick this art theme ‘EVIL ROBOTS?’ Because I love the Terminator movies and I am a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger,” stated Rodriguez. “Sometimes I think about robots taking over the world someday. It kind-of feels like it is happening right now with Corona.”

“Some of the EVIL ROBOTS I have picked are groups of robots meeting to destroy humans. Some have EVIL ROBOT patterns, and some, just like the Terminator, look like humans,” he added.

The roster of NIAD artists whose work appears in the exhibition includes: Saul Alegria; Lisa Blevens; Jeremy Burleson & Karen May; Deatra Colbert; Julio Del Rio; Luis Estrada; Sylvia Fragoso; Erica Martinez; Kevin Randolph; Shantae Robinson; Carlota Rodriguez; Bubba Trieber; and Matthew Wilson.

Some of the exhibition’s eye-catching art works include Estrada’s “John Cena with Hair and Big Muscles,” Trieber’s “Untitled” and Colbert’s “Untitled.”

NIAD Art Center is located at 551 23rd St. in Richmond, but is closed during the shelter-at-home order (staff is working remotely). Click here for more info on NIAD’s work with artists with disabilities or here to support the nonprofit with a donation.

Check out EVIL ROBOTS! exhibition organizer Miles Opie Rodriguez’s blog post about the pandemic here.