Detail of the work "Wall of Memory", by Rosana Paulino. Photo: Isabella Matheus / Collection of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. APAC Donation, 2018

*By Claudinei Roberto da Silva

Judging by what we observe from the movement of museums, cultural institutions, galleries, formal and informal spaces, the production of black and black artists in the country has been confirming the characteristic resilience of that part of the population of which these artists are part. Because its achievements have been gaining visibility and prominence in the same proportion as the anti-racist and anti-colonialist actions that aim to mitigate the social ills derived from the racism that asphyxiates and kills, and which is still denied by that portion of the population that has always benefited.

Would it be possible to consider a contemporary Afro-Brazilian artistic family? About any genealogy capable of grouping artists in lineages of projects that for some reason remain magnetic? This genealogy would be as aloof as any other that refers to the black Brazilian people. But, in order to contain or denounce the epistemicide that runs parallel to the genocide of the black population, the prospection of the memories and ancestry of the descendants of the enslaved Africans has become one of the tasks to which a significant part of Afro-Brazilian artists has dedicated themselves. that have in the probing of history, in the construction of identities and in the deconstruction of prejudices the motto of their poetics. This might be an index.

When alive, Sidney Amaral (1973-2017) was very close to Rosana Paulino, who he called "godmother". They shared aesthetic ideals and a belief in the transgressive and transformative power of education. Sidney Amaral, despite his artistic rise, remained a public school teacher until his death. This double working day, which alternated between the studio and the classrooms, did not contradict Amaral or Paulino. The teaching profession has always been in their thoughts and in the perspective of both, which only confirms the complexity and demands of artistic practice crossed by concerns of a social order. In common, Paulino and Amaral shared an interest in the past and current history of the Afro-Brazilian diaspora; Rosana Paulino is a research artist, she bases her propositions on diligent investigations and this does not mean a cooling off of her poetics. On the contrary, it seems to extract from the prospected truths the forcefulness of works such as Settlement, and it is not by chance that the artist maintains a large library in her studio, replicating the same attitude that Sidney Amaral cherished when he was alive – who, in addition, sought to organize a newspaper library where he archived the most varied images and texts, which used to supply him ideas and fueled his indignation.

“Immolation”, by Sidney Amaral. Photo: Romulo Fialdini / Collection of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. APAC Donation, 2016

In 2018 Rosana Paulino had her work contemplated in a retrospective exhibition at Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, an institution that was directed by the curator Thaddeus Chiarelli, who was a professor at the Art Department at the University of São Paulo when the artist was there; it was there that, in 1994, still as a student, the artist produced a work that is so far central in her history – the memory wall, a work that would be acquired much later by the same Pinacoteca which, incidentally, also acquired an important collection of works by Amaral.

Both Rosana Paulino and Sidney Amaral produced works that exhibit great technical accuracy in their execution. In their thoughts resided the idea that the works should remain, resist the passage of years, as a testimony of a time of transition and trance that they were protagonists. Rosana Paulino is also a restorer by training, which also explains her rigor in the execution of her work. For both of them, the refined technique and the forms that it makes appear are at the service of a poetic project – they are crossed by ethics and politics and do not speak of virtuosity, although it is evident, but they emphasize that competence sometimes denied to the Afro artist. -Brazilian.


*claudinei roberto is a visual artist, curator and professor of Arts Education at USP. He was coordinator of the Education Center at the Afro Museum, co-curator of the 13th edition of the Bienal Naïfs do Brasil and curator of several exhibitions, including PretAtitude.

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