Best of Brooklyn: Park Slope artist Gabriel Rivera marks Cinco de Mayo

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Gabriel Rivera's vibrant artwork depicts a range of subjects from skulls and skeletons to roosters. Gabriel Rivera's vibrant artwork depicts a range of subjects from skulls and skeletons to roosters.
PARK SLOPE -

Gabriel Rivera's vibrant artwork depicts a range of subjects from skulls and skeletons to roosters.

He began doing murals in Los Angeles but now displays his artwork on his Park Slope stoop, especially during Mexican holidays like the Day of the Dead and Cinco de Mayo.

"It's so bright, it's so inviting -- just pulled me right in," one passerby told News 12. "I could not stop. It was great."

Rivera, who was born in Mexico but moved to the United States as a child, calls his Cinco de Mayo display "kind of a satire."

"It's a spectacle of life," he says. "It's the beating of the war drum."

The holiday itself is a commemoration of the Mexican Army's military victory over French forces in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.

Rivera's artwork, he says, aims to highlight Mexico's contributions to the world.

"I'm an activist first, as I tell many people, and an artist second," he says. 

Part of that activism involves repurposing discarded items, reusing old masks and recycling other materials to make his artwork.

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