Examining Gentrification in Eden Within Eden by Ricardo Nagaoka

Photographer Ricardo Nagaoka is undeniably tangled in the clutches of identity politics. Born in Paraguay, the Japanese artist moved to Canada as a teen and subsequently studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. Today, he’s claimed Portland, Oregon as his adopted home. Consequently, it’s become the setting for his latest body of work, Eden Within Eden. Reflecting his own search for identity, the work aims to encapsulate the rapidly changing, predominantly African American neighborhoods of Northeast Portland.

Describing the area’s gentrification as insidious and pervasive, Nagaoka seeks to bring to light the issues that result from the eradication of place. Yet, he also manages to capture glimmers of hope within his photographs. Though things may be in flux, the continued perseverance of the people who have managed to find home in the midsts of a historically hostile environment suggest that beauty is capable of rising through even the darkest circumstances

All photos are courtesy of Ricardo Nagaoka.

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