Daniela Rivera. Courtesy of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

Daniela Rivera Wins DeCordova Museum’s $35,000 Rappaport Prize

The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, has named Boston-based visual artist Daniela Rivera the 2019 recipient of its annual Rappaport Prize. Established in 2000, the award is presented to an artist who has made significant contributions to the field of contemporary art and also has connections to New England. Following a recent $500,000 gift from the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, this year’s award amount was increased from $25,000 to $35,000.

“The Rappaport Prize is an incredible honor to receive,” said Rivera. “It is such an affirming recognition of my work over the last seventeen years in Massachusetts. It gives value to my experience as a US and New England resident, as well as to the choices I’ve made and the life circumstances I’ve faced here. This prize also opens up so many possibilities for my work, including an opera on immigration that I have been wanting to create and can now begin planning as a result.”

Born in 1973 in Santiago, Chile, Rivera is a painter and installation artist who often works with immersive architectural forms on a monumental scale. Having grown up under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, Rivera focuses on the history of repression as well as themes of displacement and political turmoil in many of her works, sometimes drawing on firsthand experiences. Rivera moved to Boston in 2002 and graduated from the city’s School of the Museum of the Fine Arts in 2006.

Over the years, she has staged solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2017), for which she removed a section of the museum’s walls to expose the building’s structure as part of a show exploring the long-term social and ecological effects of mining; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago, Chile (2012); and the Davis Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts (2010). Currently, Rivera works as an associate professor of art at Wellesley College, where she has taught since 2008.