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The Wagner College Gallery will host “Doors of Perception,” an exhibition of figurative mixed-media paintings by David Zukas, from Tuesday, January 15 to Saturday, February 16. The exhibition is free, and the public is invited.

“Traditionally, one thinks of a door as a restraint or a barrier,” Zukas wrote on his website about the inspiration for the new exhibition. “I have been thinking of [the door] as a gateway, portal, vestibule or threshold we must physically and emotionally pass through in order to better comprehend ourselves. My goal is to visualize transformative ideas so that one changes after passing through or consuming them.”

A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, Zukas has been an artist and educator for more than a dozen years, traveling to and studying regions associated with the African Diaspora, from its origins in West Africa to final destinations in the Americas like Haiti. It was from the House of Slaves museum on Goree Island, just off the coast of Senegal, with its famous “Door of No Return” through which slaves left Africa for the Americas, that Zukas drew his initial inspiration for the works in his new Wagner College Gallery exhibition.

“My esteemed adviser and father-in-law, the celebrated sculptor Patrick Vilaire, told me to follow up this metaphor and start producing ideas on physical doors,” Zukas wrote. “I began dumpster diving in and around all five boroughs for discarded doors and turned trash into treasure.”

The “Doors of Perception” exhibition consists of Zukas’s paintings on doors, which he describes as “New African” paintings showing the importance of the struggle of the masses of displaced people of color for freedom and dignity.

Zukas currently teaches in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn at a “second chance” high school. More information and examples of his work can be found on his website.

The Wagner College Gallery is located in the Union building on the campus of Wagner College, 631 Howard Ave., in the Grymes Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. CLICK HERE for a campus map. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday until 7 p.m. The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday, except for specially scheduled events. For more information, call the Wagner College Art Department at 718-390-3192, or email gallery director Bill Murphy at

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