“The Cherry Hotel is a historic hotel building located at Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina. It was designed by Charles Collins Benton and built in 1917. African-Americans were allowed to work but not to stay as guests in the hotel. The hotel closed in 1981 and it was subsequently converted to affordable housing mostly for African-American population with low income.” – Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, 2022
“Based on the historical archive Black Wide-Awake (documents of genealogical and historical interest of Wilson County, North Carolina’s African-American past curated by Lisa Y. Henderson) Chilluns’ Croon investigates themes of slavery, absence, remembrance, spirituality, mortality and morality of African American families from Wilson, NC. Reflecting on old transcripts from the Federal Writers Project – told by African former slaves, the symbolic series is a compilation of photographs that resembled old spiritual beliefs and stories of love and loss from the time of slavery. A modern crumbling landscape where new generations from families of freed slaves keep fighting for equality and awareness.” – Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, 2022
Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez is a photographer (b.1989, Bogota, Colombia) based in Brooklyn, NY. Ruiz Gonzalez was a finalist of the Aperture Portfolio Prize 2022, Film Photo Award 2022, Lucie Foundation Carte Blanche 2022 and Palm Photo Prize 2022. He is the current winner of STORIES 2022 by Photo Collective Australia, and one of the current winners of the Urbanautica Institute Awards, Passepartout Catalogue Prize, Verzasca Foto festival 2022, “Portrait of Humanity 2022” by the BJP and NYFA Fellowship Program 2022. In 2021, Ruiz Gonzalez’s work led him to be selected as one of 40 winning single images of Decade of Change organised by British Journal of Photography. He was awarded by Eyes on Main Street as one of the Resident Photographers for the program of 2021 in Wilson, NC. He is also a City Art Corps Grantee for The New York Foundation of the Arts. Ruiz Gonzalez was selected as a grantee to be part of the COVID-19 Writers Project (C19WP), a project for The Pulitzer Center and National Geographic, some of his work created for this project was included in 2020: A Year in Photos by The Pulitzer Center and is also part of Inside the Curve, a travelling exhibition by National Geographic.
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