The portfolio of David Antonio Cruz, professor of the practice at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, defines the term “interdisciplinary”. His latest works include paintings inspired by Sonnets of Dark Love, the last poems by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, in an exhibition titled “wegivesomuchandgivenothingatall, paintings for richard” and an upcoming operatic piece based on Irish revolutionary Roger Casement’s Black Diaries.
Cruz has a passion for revealing untold history: of black and Latino race, underground queer culture, and an overarching silence that demands to be broken. “Growing up queer, making art was a way to have voice and be able to express myself,” says Cruz. “I developed my own language that didn’t involve speaking.” His innovative and creative expression earned him degrees at the Pratt Institute and Yale University; shows across the U.S., Caribbean, and Europe, including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery; and numerous awards, fellowships, and residencies.
This summer Cruz has been busy preparing for back-to-back exhibitions and performances, as well as his new post on the Hill. “Tufts is an amazing research institution in a culturally rich city,” says Cruz. “The SMFA has an incredible interdisciplinary program. It is exactly how I think about my practice, how I produce, research, think, and teach.”
Students in his Introduction to Figure Painting course can expect a 360-degree existential exploration of the body: studying gesture, the history of the human figure in past and present, and how the world discusses and interprets its movement and intention. That same interdisciplinary and global lens will apply to all of his courses, Cruz adds. “We’re looking at the work beyond Western ideas.”