'Vermelho como Brasil [As Red as Brazil]' is a commissioned work for the biennial exhibition 37th Panorama of Brazilian Art at MAM São Paulo, named "Under the Ashes, Embers". The piece, a fabric installation, made with brazilwood, the tree that gives Brazil its name (and a colonial good).
“Red* marginals will be banished from our homeland.” - Brazilian Presidential Candidate Jair Bolsonaro on the campaign trail in 2018 (*Red here refers leftist/communism, but more broadly refers anyone with liberal thoughts that oppose his far right politics)
As an act of both grieving and remembering, “Vermelho como Brasil [As Red as Brazil]” is a series of fabric dye drawings made in the aftermath of Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration in 2019. Brazil is named for a tree, the “brazilwood.” This ancient, monumental tree was a commodity valued for its red pigment and logged to near extinction in colonial times. The word Brazil relates directly to the color Red, the same one the president-elected pledged to banish.
As a slowgrowth tree, that almost went extinct due to its extraction (by europeans that wanted the valuable red for their royal robes and paintings), brazilwood is a tree that encapsulate many lessons. During the pandemic the biggest brazilwood tree alive was founded in one of self-organized settlement in the so-called ‘discovery coast’ (where the Portuguese first landed in Brazil), aging around 600 years. The piece for Panorama das Artes has the same diameter of this ancient tree and invite the visitors of the museum to be part of this force, entering the tree and being in touch with this color (so rare for us to have the opportunity to relate to, as Brazilians).
The show opened in 2022, a few months before Bolsonaro lost his 2nd trial for presidential elections.
+ More about [in portuguese]: https://youtu.be/_LSBQWUbQXc
When the whole world is asked to stop it is an invitation. To listen, to make space to the silence, to recall what's in the dark, to remind what sits in the hollow. Can we hold the night in our hands? Hold the hole, the well, the water (and earth) from where life begins and ends? (and begins, and ends, begins…) Can we go back inward and pulse with this life, and remember we are part of its wholeness? To Ripple with Water is an invitation for grounding, ritual, and contemplation.
Placed in the center of The Border Project space two essential conical forms are combined to create a ceramic sculpture, one facing downwards and the other upwards. The form on the bottom touches a floor filled with wood chips from the Hudson Valley mountains where the artist lives. The form on the top holds water from the mountain springs of the same area. A circular curtain made out of ceramic beads circumscribes this temporary sacred space: an invitation to be still, to ‘spend’ time and ripple ‘with’ water.
Occupying the liminal space of the gallery is a sound component that ties together the installation. These are water songs made with the artist’s voice. Repeating over and over like mantras with no recognizable words, they are simply a relationship between air and lungs, body and place. They are born from this dialogue with what is below, above and around us: the place from where we came and to where we will return.
Is ripple with water made of this pulse as much as by us? Could we remember how to do it? Only if we start trying.
When the pandemic hit, I started making heart-like organ figures as part of a daily grieving and healing ritual (many of them sent to loved ones in Brazil). ‘Heart-of-Earth’ is presented as a site-specific installation, combining a collection of 52 ‘hearts’ with two phrases I kept close during this pandemic:
‘NÓS SOMOS UM CORAÇÃO SÓ, UMA TERRA SÓ, UMA ALMA SÓ’
- Davi Kopenawa
‘WE ALL BREATHE OF THE SAME BREATH’
- Rina Swentzell
This ancestral knowledge from two indigenous elders, one from Brazil and the other from the U.S., were threads of hope I held onto, guiding me in this challenging moment.
Their words are written in a line of earth directly on the wall, guiding the constellation of heart-paintings placed at variable heights on the wall.
For this installation, each heart-painting was defined according to the height of the staff members of the Brazilian Consulate in New York and the group involved in the exhibition, honoring this temporary community.
*A print with the painting and phrase from Davi Kopenawa was distributed to all Consulate’s staff members.
Olho da Terra
–Eye of the Earth
–Eye of the Earth
Residency, Performance, Installation
São Paulo, 2019 / New York, 2021
The performance and its consequent installation is the outcome of a one month residency, reconnecting the artist with her hometown and research on its foundational site. The studies of the knoll where the city began started in 2013 for her first solo show, where she conducted investigative walks from the center of the knoll to the city’s outskirts. Inhampabuassu (the Eye of the Earth in Tupi-Guarani language), is a location where displacement, bloodshed and subsequent monuments teach us about historical amnesia and the shared stories of colonization across the Americas.
For this residency, she researched the symbolic force of this ancestral site and the symbology of its original name (a fact little known by most of its inhabitants). The work relates to the artist’s ongoing research on “navels” of the land, sites that give birth to places and their myths across multiple cultures. Reflecting on São Paulo’s navel, a symbolic knoll was created in the center of the residency exhibition room, made with the city’s natural soil (disposed by construction sites). While creating a direct relationship with raw earth, the perfomance reconnects body, place and matter, an act of reconnection with the land, its ancestrality and the sense of belonging.
The work was reenacted and evolved into a new version in the context of The Clemente Building, in New York, part of the Subversive Kin ehxibition, curated by Elisa Gutierrez.
- video performance, click here
- catalog of Subversive Kin, click here
– text by curator Julie Dumont on the residency, click here
To Open the Ground
[a navel to Burnside]
[a navel to Burnside]
Residency, Site-Specific, Community
The circular dug space is a navel for Burnside Farm Detroit, located at the center of the urban farm. This earthwork is the outcome of a 12-week residency, working directly with the land and people that constitute that diverse community. It is a gathering space, a place to ground and a stage for activities on healing, meditation and celebrating difference.
Together with the earth-work, an installation and exhibition were open to the public to share images, drawings and references that give new layers of depth to the work.
It is an on-going project and, as the other elements of the Farm (the house, the garden, the garage...), is a place that will keep growing over time, necessity and care.
- video-performance made by the end of the process
–more information about Burnside Farm click here