“My ultimate goal is not to specifically share my own stories, but to encourage others to revisit their own memories and examine their meaning and impact on their lives.”
Rizzhel Javier (San Diego, 1983) is a San Diego based artist and educator. She graduated college with a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from San Diego State University in 2012. Rizzhel is an active member of the arts community in the region.
Her work explores topics in communication, identity, memory and human relationships. Trained in darkroom photography, in the last ten years, Rizzhel has combined her images with sculpture, installation and digital media. Her pieces are playful and often require the viewer to engage physically with the work. She works autobiographically, using art and photography, to explore personal, community and global transformation. Through sharing personal stories, Rizzhel hopes to encourage viewers to recall their own memories, personal experiences and reflection.
Rizzhel’s recent work is influenced by immigration and travel. Her practice is largely feminist and transborder with theme and partnerships that stretch into Tijuana and the Philippines. She is currently working on a documentary film, Basura Boyz, which studies the sanitary conditions of her father’s childhood town in the Philippines. In Philippines in Tijuana she crosses the border to explore the meaning of home and cultural comparious between San Diego and Philippines. Rizzhel explores social and historical issues of displaced identity, and ideas of misrepresentation and impermanence.
She shares participatory learning experiences, from her own practice, and applies them to youth programs that advocate for self-expression, equity and transformation. Rizzhel teaches students documentary skills to produce films like Androgyne, a student directed and produced film that explores gender roles through the clothing of three androgynous women. Her background in childhood and human development have made her interest in people, art and social justice collide.
She engages with the community with her personal project Bridge, which creates public engagement projects that address community need to bring awareness and build a platform to have a safe dialogue. Through Bridge, and with other non-profit and youth programs she designs, she provides site specific curriculums to local programs using participatory photography teaching techniques. Rizzhel teaches mobile workshops that explore historical and contemporary image making techniques and has been invited to host events at the Museum of Photographic Arts, Grossmont College, The Hillstreet Country Club, YUMA Metals Symposium and on site at Carlsbad Beach through Oceanside Museum of Art.
Rizzhel has exhibited nationally (Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA) and internationally (CEART, Tijuana Institute of Technology, Mexico, B.C.). Her last exhibition Viaje Ida y Vuelta, Round Trip, took place on a 757 Boeing airplane on the Tijuana Institute of Technology campus. She installed a series of sculptures embroidered with phrases of what people say to each other when they say goodbye. She uses multiple languages in her work to emphasize the separation as a universal experience, and prevalent in the mass commuter city of San Diego and Tijuana. In 2017, she was recognized for her art and work with the community with the Emerging Artist Award from the San Diego Visual Arts Network.
Rizzhel currently works at Cal State San Marcos, teaching Intro to Audio and Video and San Diego City College, teaching Darkroom Photography. She serves the local youth through Pacific Arts Movement, teaching Reel Voices, an award winning Youth Documentary Film program. Rizzhel is known for her transformative work with youth, social justice and cultural heritage as a Teaching Artist at The AjA Project. Her goal is to provide her community with fun learning experiences, support mentorship to students and provide rejuvenating professional development experiences to art educators.