Artist Neil Rivas explores immigration policy in his latest exhibit: "Illegal Superheroes." The exhibit, which showed last month at the Ramp Gallery, a community-curated space at San Francisco's SOMArts Cultural Center, has definitely caused a stir both locally and nationally.
"If the US Government considers people illegal, then I think that policy must also be applied to superheroes," Rivas told NBC Latino. "For instance, Superman is illegal. He's from Krypton."
Rivas, A Salvadorian-American who was born in Los Angeles but spent a lot of his life in El Salvador, explores the characterization of people as their immigration status.
“Things are often looked at through very black and white dichotomies, for instance good versus evil, and I think that life is a lot more complex than that, immigration is more complex than that,” said Rivas.
Rivas used comic book characters from Marvel comics and DC Comics, profiling them and branding them with the word "Illegal" -- much like a wanted poster.
"I grew up with these comic books and superheroes and it was never an issue where they came from or how often they would cross borders," says Rivas. "My hope was that because superheroes are an approachable subject, people would naturally be attracted to the project visually and that it would awaken nostalgia."
What do you think of Rivas' exhibit?