November 10 – December 11th 2016

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”In this pivotal transitional moment, the veil of politics is thinning. Colorado-based mixed media artist, Ravi Zupa, has created this new series as an exploration of power, powerful people, and the collective mess that we are in. The Matthew Namour Gallery is proud to exhibit Ravi Zupa’s first solo show in Canada, playing host & refuge from the current political climate.


“Like most Americans, I’ve been watching this election with a great deal of interest and emotional investment. This does seem to be a dramatic turning point in the way that politics function, not only in the United States but everywhere on the planet, and it also seems that technology has everything to do with it. I’m not much of a techno enthusiast but I do think that to a large degree this turning point is aiming us in a much better direction. It is becoming increasingly difficult for politicians to maintain a public persona in the front and a hidden agenda in the back. This is why Donald Trump is one of the best things to happen to American politics. Because he is more or less honest about all of his philosophies, he acts as a mirror not only to the Republican Party but also to the nation as a whole; he shows us what a total mess we are as a collective. My show opens two days after the US election and my deep hope is that Donald Trump will not be our president. If he is, the planet will be in the profoundest existential danger. However, if he is not elected the lasting mark of his campaign will be a good one, the exposure of so many thought disorders in our national consciousness.

The title, “Violence On Our Behalf” is a slightly altered portion of a George Orwell quote, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”. This is a body of work created during this transitional time and the work reflects it. It mainly deals with power and powerful people.”

– Ravi Zupa




“Use Tools”
24 x 36 inches
Edition of 100
Signed and Numbered

About the artwork.
The main figure in this piece is named Yamantaka. He is the destroyer of death in some versions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Yama was originally a monk who had been meditating for so many lives and was finally at the edge of enlightenment. One day, while seated in meditating a group of thieves who had recently stolen a cow entered his cave to escape the authorities. The monk pleaded with them to leave him alive for only a few minutes until he became enlightened. After that, they were welcome to kill him. The bandits refused this request and instead chopped his head off. Yama then flew into a livid murderous rage and cut off the head of the stolen cow and the heads of bandits and put them on his neck as his own. He then left the cave having become the lord of death and began killing everyone he encountered. The gods watched the death toll rise and seeing this destruction went to Shiva to ask for help. Shiva then assumed the same form as Yama to confront him. He had to become death to kill death and since Shiva is infinitely more powerful, he defeated Yama in an instant. In some Buddhist sects Yama is the first deity that we encounter at death and after the 40 some days of Bardo we encounter Yamantaka when death comes to an end and we’re conceived for our next life.

The tattoos that cover the body of Yamantaka are made from original drawings that were in the “Age of Enlightenment” series in Ravi’s recent exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary.


18 inches x 24 inches
Screen print on cream Speckle Tone paper.
Edition of 400
Signed & Numbered by Ravi Zupa.
Limit of one per person/household.


I’m very honored to be part of this project. My friends Shepard Fairey and John Goff are releasing an album with songs remixed by some amazing musicians. I had the honor of remixing the poster for the album. Thank you Shepard Fairey and John Goff for getting me invlolved.


Ravi Zupa: The Turmoil of Being
September 1 – September 24


Contact to inquire about available artwork

Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present The Turmoil of Being, a solo show of new works by Colorado-based artist Ravi Zupa. Highlighting Zupa’s multifaceted studio practice, the exhibition features new works on paper, fabricated sculptures and a large scale installation. Zupa utilizes a broad range of techniques to inter-weave imagery from a myriad of cultures.

Taking cues from Renaissance portraiture, totalitarian propaganda and Eastern iconography, Zupa creates a unique universe of historic characters and anthropomorphic creatures. Figures are precisely rendered to emulate the stylings of Japanese wood-block illustrations, Medieval religious art, and zoological drawings. However, each pastiche is intervened with bold reference to modernity and a looming dystopian future.

The Turmoil of Being brings together several of Zupa’s ongoing bodies of work. His series, Age of Enlightenment, display his mastery of combining traditional methods of printmaking, assemblage, and painting. Zupa’s ornate work seems as it were unearthed from centuries ago, yet it contains traces of our contemporary age. Dreamlike, unsettling and mysterious, these works unify what is seemingly unrelated, to strive towards something universal.

In his continuing series, Mightier Than, Zupa dismantles and welds together pieces of antique typewriters to create realistic depictions of modern assault rifles. Upon closer inspection, barrels and triggers are merely carriages and keys. Each weapon is even loaded with ammunition meticulously crafted from discarded pencil stubs and fountain-pens. This work confronts the violent and absurd by re-interpreting the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Zupa’s exhibition culminates in a life-size sculptural installation. An elaborately costumed Samurai rides on horseback, wielding an assembled typewriter rifle. This monumental work provokes viewers to be physically immersed into Zupa’s milieu.

Please join us for The Turmoil of Being, opening Thursday, September 1, with an evening reception from 6pm – 10pm.

The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, September 24.

Interview with Colorado Public Radio


Ravi Zupa meets me at his Denver studio with a package wrapped in brown paper.

“I don’t want to get shot by the police as I walk home,” Zupa says. “Because it’s a very real looking firearm.”

The 38-year-old artist pulls out a sculpture that mimics a submachine gun from World War II. The piece looks very realistic, like all the works in Zupa’s “Mightier Than” series. They even prompted a call in November to the Englewood Police Department from someone who saw art handlers packing up some of the guns. The caller thought they were real.

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