In order of appearance: Rosângela Rennó, Vera Cruz (still), 2000. Video. Ayrson Heráclito and Danillo Barata, Barrueco, 2004. Design: Celso Longo + Daniel Trench.“Renegade Histories: Memories of Indigenous and African Descent”
November 29, 2014, 4pm
Public programs meeting with artists Rosângela Rennó and Ayrson Heráclito and curator Agustín Pérez Rubio
Batendo Amalá performance by Ayrson Heráclito
Unerasable Memories – A Historic Look at the Videobrasil Collection
Until November 30, 2014
Rua Clelia, 93
Exhibition discusses the invisibility imposed upon populations of African and indigenous descent by History and Art discourses
Artists Ayrson Heráclito, Rosângela Rennó, and curator Agustín Pérez Rubio will discuss the invisibility and marginalization imposed upon populations of African and indigenous descent by History and Art discourses—and their blatant, yet veiled social marginality. The meeting “Renegade Histories: Memories of Indigenous and African Descent” will wrap up the public programs activities of the Unerasable Memories – A Historic Look at the Videobrasil Collectionexhibition, curated by Pérez Rubio and held by Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Sesc São Paulo. Following the meeting, Heráclito will enact his performance Batendo Amalá, inspired by African-based religion. Unerasable Memories, which opened on August 30, remains on show at Sesc Pompeia in São Paulo, Brazil, only until the day after the panel, November 30.
Spain’s Agustín Pérez Rubio comments on the echoes of colonization in contemporaneity, expounding on the cyclical neglect of indigenous peoples’ demands and modern-day racism, a leftover from the blemish of African slavery. “It is of vital importance that we also think of how the history of these conflicts is being viewed from the present, where everything seems distant and past, but in which issues of race, gender, slavery, borders, and wars keep on occurring,” the curator points out.
The exhibition features Barrueco, by Brazilian artist Ayrson Heráclito, a video made in 2004 in partnership with Danillo Barata. The piece recounts the history of African slave trafficking through a web of material, musical, pictorial and textual references. After taking part in the debate with Rennó and Pérez Rúbio, Heráclito will present the performance Batendo Amalá, the outcome of his research into the heritage and the historical, cultural, social and religious influences stemming from the arrival of Africans in Brazil. “Within the context of this exhibition, I hope the ritual will arouse a feeling that can provide some sort of cure to these ills that befell us. By approaching slavery through art, I yearn to quell the pains of this memory without hiding it. It is part of my goal as an artist to work through this pain through art—aestheticizing the wounds, living with them rather than forgetting,” says the artist who, in this performative action, make the “ajebó,” a ritual food prepared as a votive offering to Xangô, a candomblé divinity linked to Justice.
Whereas Rosângela Rennó participates in the meeting addressing issues that pervade Vera Cruz(2000), her first video work. Made during the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Brazil’s “discovery,” the piece is based upon and reinterprets the letter from Pero Vaz de Caminha to the King of Portugal, the first document ever written in the country. “History is always anchored on documents…However, any investigation based on ancient documents and remainders from a time past is bound to contain gaps…Often, institutions and the powers take advantage of the shortcomings and gaps in order to rewrite or edit history based on specific agendas, and this is exactly what must become the object of observation, research and even denunciation,” the artist said in a statement available in full from PLATFORM:VB, an online research tool from Associação’s website.
Exhibition showcases the diversity and power of a collection of 1,300 artworks by artists from the global South
The videos by Rosângela Rennó and Ayrson Heráclito converse intimately with other artworks in the Unerasable Memories exhibition. The works of Luiz de Abreu (O Samba do Crioulo Doido), Mwangi Hutter (My Possession) and Dan Halter (Untitled – Zimbabwean Queen of Rave) address different claims of the black identity. For its part, the social invisibility experienced by indigenous populations and their insufficiency when faced with big political and economic interests are also the subjects of Vincent Carelli and Dominique Gallois’s A Arco dos Zo’é, and Aurélio Michiles’s O Sangue da Terra.
The exhibition also presents artwork by other artists featured in Associação’s collection: Akram Zaatari, Bouchra Khalili, Carlos Motta, Coco Fusco, Enio Staub, Jonathas de Andrade, León Ferrari & Ricardo Pons, Liu Wei, Rabih Mroué, Sebastián Diaz Morales and Walid Raad.
Made between the 1980s and our days, these pieces provide a small sample of the diverse, rich universe of Videobrasil Collection artworks. According to Videobrasil founder and director Solange Farkas, although it incorporates international video art classics, the big strength of the Collection resides in the fact that it contains the memory of audiovisual production from the global South, which is the target of Videobrasil. “The rich discussions elicited by the public programs meetings and the essays in the exhibition book, alongside the feedback we have had from spectators and critics, have underscored the relevance of the subject matters and the power, currency and diversity of productions by these artists whom, despite living in such different areas, share a common engagement with the political and social realities of their countries,” says Farkas.
Unerasable Memories’ public programs enabled the discussion of current and relevant topics around the curatorial themes, with panels on subjects such as art against historical amnesia and collection activation strategies.Check out the coverage of the first two meetings in the main page of the exhibition’s public programs.