Roger Ferreira

Story by the artist.

Roger Ferreira was born in Winnipeg, but lived in Trinidad where he began his artist career. Returning to Canada and settling in Hamilton, he graduated from McMaster University and University of Toronto OISE. Roger’s art focuses on education as he explores Hamilton’s heritage and brings Caribbean and Trinidad Caribbean heritage to the mainstream.

The following are his stories that surround some of his key works.

As mature Mac students with 3 kids, we balanced having student friends and mature friends. We hosted some of them, they were our babysitters and Cathy styled their hair. Tracey is from Jamaica and her brothers also attended Mac. I am always looking for subject matter that appeals to me and I drew the pair in pencil on a piece of wood that I saved for woodcut. The drawing itself pleased me so much that I did not do a woodcut but worked on with charcoal and conte.

Roger Ferreira. "Cathy and Tracey". 1997. Graphite and chalk pastels. Courtesy of the artist.
Roger Ferreira. "Cathy Antoinette". 1994. Woodcut. Courtesy of the artist.

My wife and kids would stay still and pose, they were always ready subject matter. This is a woodcut of Cathy from a photograph. She is the pinnacle of feminine beauty and grace for me.

Roger Ferreira. "From Egg to Space", mural at the Children’s International Learning Centre. 1998.
Roger Ferreira. "From Egg to Space", mural at the Children’s International Learning Centre. 1998.

I have worked on a few murals around Hamilton (solo and in collaboration) which were removed from walls with “progress”. This one was done at the Children’s International Learning Centre outside back walls. I had an arts camp there, after graduating from Mac and having a family to feed; we had to be resourceful. In the summer when school was out I babysat my kids and others with games, music and teaching art. I got my son Kareem, 7, Kyle, 8, and other older kids to paint the base colours and I did the details and the faces.

Roger Ferreira. "The Love Tree", Cootes Paradise. 1998. Watercolour. Courtesy of the artist.

This piece is from a series of landscape paintings I did when I was a house Dad. I could not afford a daycare and did not have a job, so the boys played in the park while I painted. This tree was famous in Churchill Park among kissing enthusiasts, especially Westdale teens.

Roger Ferreira. "Sassafras Point", Cootes Paradise. 1998. Watercolour. Courtesy of the artist.

This is another piece from the series of work I did for an art show at Westdale Library. These places I painted in watercolour were in walking distance of my house, and I took the kids to explore while I worked.

Roger Ferreira. "Haiti". 1996. Acrylic with collage of paper and burlap. Courtesy of the artist.
Roger Ferreira. "Haiti", detail. 1996. Acrylic with collage of paper and burlap. Courtesy of the artist.

This piece was inspired by a tiny news photo that I altered. I had to produce numerous works for my final student years at McMaster University art department. It speaks to my faith and the bible account of the Good Samaritan. I see the bible coming to life in contemporary culture and this woman is at the gate of a church and the congregation is passing her by.

Roger Ferreira. "Kristian". 1996. Bronze. Courtesy of the artist.

I tried everything as a student, and this bronze of my son was my first bronze ever. I experimented with doing a wax sculpture and was taught how to make the bronze as I did it.

Roger Ferreira. "Kristian". 1995. Woodcut. Courtesy of the artist.

Right: This is a woodcut done while experimenting with a dremel tool on wood. I was taught to use gauges for woodcut but recently found this new technology.

Since my education and Trinidad diplomas were not considered equal to the ones in Canada, I returned to high school to gain experience and upgrade my college diploma in Agricultural Science. While at Scott Park High School in my twenties, I created this work to bring Caribbean culture to meet the work of Guiseppi Archimboldo (who I was studying). An Ital Man is made from his roots since you are what you eat.

Roger Ferreira. "Ital Man". 1990. Acrylic. Courtesy of the artist.
Roger Ferreira's "Sistren", 1991, on the cover of Journal of West Indian Literature, Vol. 14, No.1 & 2.

This is the partner to Ital Man, who came from Bob Marley and Rastafarian culture.

This work was done in the Cootes Paradise series for the Westdale Library. I did it while observing a couple walking in the woods on a winter day.

Roger Ferreira. "Just the Two of Us", Cootes Paradise. 1998. Pen and ink. Courtesy of the artist.
Roger Ferreira. "Mayaro, Trinidad". 1987. Watercolour. Courtesy of the artist.

This was the piece that commemorates my final session with my first teacher in art Mrs. Howard in Trinidad. She was trained abroad and took a group of teens to different beaches to paint each weekend. This beach called Mayaro was the place I took my girlfriend (now wife) and painted her in watercolour. After this, my teacher said that she had very little else to teach me and to improve I should go abroad.

This is a she devil in Trinidad folklore that is blamed for many male temptations. She appears at night to intoxicated young men and tries to seduce them. One may find her out when she asks for a light for her cigarette and in the dark one sees that one of her feet is a cows hoof. In this work she personifies the drugs that seduced many of my friends.

Roger Ferreira. "La Diablesse". 1996. Lithograph. Courtesy of the artist.
Roger Ferreira. "Tan Tan". 1991. Pencil, pen and ink. Courtesy of the artist.

This is a drawing made from pencil and ink which was inspired from a huge puppet made by Peter Minshall. She has a boyfriend called “Saga Boy” who is a well kept man and she is the village equivalent who is like a debutante that surrounds herself with drama and gossip.

Roger Ferreira. "Pembois, Breadfruit". 1996. Lithograph. Courtesy of the artist.

This work is about the breadfruit, which is an alternative for starch in the diet of Caribbean people like potatoes and yams.

Roger Ferreira. "Visages du Monde" mural for West Avenue School, organized by Leon 'Eklipz' Robinson, Roger Ferreira and Bryce Kanbara, 1993.

This was a collaborative work with Bryce Kanbara and many young artist who we were mentoring. We needed an idea for a subject matter and Holy Spirit suggested these portraits. The teens loved to have their faces on the building and it made a political statement since the person is political.

Archive of Artist Works:

Credits and further reading

Facebook: Roger Ferreira

Hamilton Conservatory of the Arts: Ferreira & Ferreira

Immigrant Culture and Art Association: Roger Ferreira