About Steve Cavallo 

Steve Cavallo examines the human figure in his works, demanding viewers find beauty in fellow beings while they ponder weighty subjects within human rights. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, Cavallo uses watercolor to paint victims of human trafficking—a majority of them women—with great respect and overwhelming empathy. As colors emphasize the difficult reality of those impacted by cruel and brutal practices, while the forms manifest memories and dreams of what and who they wanted to be before inhumanity twisted them. In 2010, Cavallo designed the United States’ first memorial to Comfort Women, sexual slaves of Imperial Japanese soldiers in World War II, in Palisades Park, New Jersey. His striking works compel viewers to connect with victims of intense trauma and ponder what it means to be human. 


New Brunswick Art Salon 2021 – Winners: “Resonant Becoming” 


Artist Personal Website: https://www.stevecavallo.com/ 

Artist Personal Email: scavallo@sva.edu 

Artist Statement 

In 2007 I began research of the issue of Comfort Women and spent time with these victims who were forced into sexual slavery during WWII. I have traveled both in Korea and the United States with these women, we have eaten together, protested together and spoke side by side at countless venues in their fight for justice and to have their testimonies be heard.  I have learned from these victims the methods and effects of human trafficking in 1942 Asia. 

Although still active in the Comfort Women cause, my newest paintings are focused on Human Trafficking today. The method of abduction has not changed much, since the days of 1942 that the comfort women speak of. The stigmas attached to the victims, the struggles to reenter society, the lies told, the lives destroyed, and how the families are effected. 

The stories I portray in this series of watercolors are depicted as twisted bodies, often using the Biblical symbols of crucifixion, scavenger birds and thorns to portray sin, the ultimate humiliation and shame hoisted upon these victims. The color scheme that I tend to use are the colors of bruises, and the human forms are often from several models, not just one, but a cast of models molded into one figure, beautiful features twisted into what mankind has made. 

My large watercolors are usually multi-panel installations using large sheets of watercolor paper, often pinned together roughly, not limited to square or rectangle boarders, but panels that break the boundaries of traditional paintings. There is nothing pretty about the figures at first sight, however, i strive to convey an underlying beauty to each human figure to portray who they once were, who they might have been and who they dreamed of being. 

In a multi-panel piece entitled “There but for Fortune” (Inspired by a 1960s song by protest singer Phil Ochs) there are a series of watercolor portraits of battered faces on torn and burnt paper, mounted on burlap. “We have no place to rest our feet” comes from a quote by a former comfort women, but is still applicable today in these aging sex workers with no promise for the future, a series of contorted bodies floating in mid-air, not belonging anywhere but drifting through life. “Identity” shows a woman removing the mask of youth, beauty and servitude and revealing an aging Asian face. “From the Shadows” depicts scarecrow-like images, almost human, but falling short of being regarded as having human feelings and emotions. These paintings are a portrait of man’s inhumanity toward man, of greed and destruction. They are paintings of beauty and horror and a crime that has not changed its face throughout the years. 

In 2010 I had the honor of designing the first Comfort Women Memorial in the United States which is in Palisades Park NJ, as well as working with a team of Human Rights advocates in Glendale California in 2012 bringing awareness and support for the Glendale California Memorial that was unveiled one year later. 


Space Ciel “One Eleven Parthibition” -Pompton Lakes, NJ January 2018 

Belskie Museum “In The Bleak Midwinter” -Closter, NJ January 2018 

Manzanar National Park “Looking Back Seeing Ahead” -Independence, CAMay 2017 –May 2018 (Solo Exhibit) 

Bergen PAC “Kintsugi” -Englewood NJAugust 2016 (Solo Exhibit) 

Gallery d’Arte “Darkness at the Break of Noon” -Chelsea, NYC April 2016 (Solo Exhibit) 

Nabi Museum of the Arts “In Our Dreams We Fly” -Teaneck, NJ September 2015 (Solo Exhibit) 

Fullerton Museum “Forgotten Faces” -Fullerton, CaliforniaSeptember 2015

Union City Museum “Remembering Comfort Women” -Union City, NJ August 2015 

Kupferberg Holocaust Museum “I Will Not Be Silent” -Queens, NYAugust 2015 

Belskie Museum “The Beauty of Watercolor” -Closter, NJJune 2015 

Seoul Museum of Art “World Watercolor Triennial” -Seoul, South Korea May 2015 

New Jersey Council of the Arts “Issues” -Rahway, NJMay 2015 

Alpha Gallery “Watercolor and Mixed Media Exhibition” -New Brunswick, NJMay 2015 

Bergen Performing Art Center “I & I” -Englewood, NJ April 2015 (Solo Exhibit) 

John Jay College of Criminal Justice “Of Human Bondage” -New York City, NYFebruary 2015 

Catholic University of America “Sorrow & Hope” -Washington, DC November 2014 

Nabi Museum of the Arts “From Many Wounds We Bleed” -Teaneck, NJ August 2014 (Solo Exhibit) 

Nabi Museum of the Arts “Laundromat” -Teaneck, NJ July 2014 

Riverside Gallery “I Came So Far For Beauty” -Hackensack, NJJuly 2014 

Rutgers University Newark Campus “27 Kinds of Silence” -Newark, NJ April 2014 

Old Bethpage Public Library “Longing for the Light” -Bethpage NYMarch 2014 (Solo Exhibit) 

Korean Press Center Gallery “Eulogies” -Palisades Park NJJuly 2013 (Solo Exhibit) 

George Mason University “Comfort Women: The Untold Story” -Fairfax, VirginiaNovember 2012 

Gallery Western “Cry of the Halmonie” -Los Angeles, CaliforniaJuly 2012 

Greisinger Museum “Tolkien Exhibit” –Jenins, SwitzerlandJune 2012 

Eunnam Museum “There But For Fortune” –Gwangj, South Korea May 2012 (Solo Exhibit) 

Gallery 1 & 9 “Come From the Shadows” -Ridgefield, NJ January 2012 

Kupferberg Holocaust Museum “Come From the Shadows” -Queens, NY September 2012 

Narah Gallery “Lamentations” -Fort Lee, NJ November 2011 (Solo Exhibit) 

ExperienceYegam Gallery “You Can’t Deny Reality” -Queens, NY February 2011 

Palisades Park Multimedia Center “Comfort Women” Memorial Dedication -Palisades Park, NJOct 2010 

Ansan Art Center Ansan International Art Fair -Ansan, South Korea June 2010 

Bergen Performing Arts Center “Childhood’s End” -Englewood, NJ January 2010 

FGS Gallery “Playing Army” -Englewood, NJ February 2009 (Solo Exhibit) 

Brennan Gallery “Immigration” -Jersey City, NJ November 2008 

Atrium Gallery “Never Forgotten, Never Mentioned” -Washington Township NJ June 2008 (Solo Exhibit) 

Maxim Lounge “Four Strong Winds” -New York City, NY January 2008 

Korean Central Cultural Gallery “Between Memory and Reality” -Fort Lee, NJ November 2007 

Gallery Oms “Winter Invitational” -Fort Lee, NJNovember 2007 

Sanmaroo Gallery “Five Corners” -Tenafly, NJ October 2007 

Atrium Gallery “Immigration” -Washington Township, NJ June 2007 

Jersey City Court House “Identity” -Jersey City, NJMay 2006 

Spoon Gallery “Summer Invitational” -New York City, NYJune 2001 

Old Church Cultural Center “On the Road” -Demarest, NJ April 1992 (Solo Exhibit) 

Andiamo Art Gallery “Golgotha”Palisades Park, NJ June 1988 (Solo Exhibit) 

Galaxy Gallery Group Exhibit -North Bergen, NJ April 1988 

Gallery of American Artists GroupShow -New York City, NYMarch 1986 

Seraphim Gallery “Autumn Invitational” -Englewood, NJ September 1981 

Green Glass Gallery “Sports of the Future” -New York City, NYMay 1979 

Alpine Gallery “Houses We Live In” -Closter, NJ April 1979 

School of Visual Arts Gallery -New York City, NYJanuary 1979