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Monica Nador speaks to Arte!Brasileiros PHOTO: Luiza Sigulem

A stylized portrait of Subcomandante Marcos, the spokesman for the Zapatista movement in Mexico, was printed on one of the fabrics on display at the show. Monica Nador + JAMAC + Community Palace, exhibited in 2015 at Paço das Artes.

The face of the revolutionary leader has accompanied the artist Mônica Nador for almost a decade, being one of the recurring images she uses on walls in the outskirts of São Paulo or in some other support around the world, such as Japan, France or the United States. “When I arrived at Jardim Miriam, in 2003, I realized that the kids worshiped Che Guevara and decided to update the myth”, he says, in a tone between the serious and the ironic, a mark that always leaves doubts in his sentences.

Jardim Miriam, a peripheral neighborhood in the South Zone of São Paulo, has been home to Nador, or Conca, as those closest to her call her, since 2003. It was in that year that she created the JAMAC (Jardim Miriam Arte Clube) with a group that included other artists, such as Lucia Koch, landscapers and university students, as well as residents of the neighborhood. Of its initial configuration there are few left, but the JAMAC became an international reference in an action that mixes art and social activism. “I don't think art is everything. It's all about people and we contribute to the construction of the social sculpture as Beuys wanted”, says the artist emphatically in a video about her work at the Paço.

In this recent work, Nador in fact points to the possibility of transformation through art, as preached by the charismatic Joseph Beuys (1921-1986). The show was part of a larger project developed at Paço das Artes since 2013, which annually invites artists to work with residents of the Jardim São Remo favela, next to USP, called Paço Comunidade. In 2014, for a semester, Nador and other members of the JAMAC held workshops with community residents, teaching them how to create prints on fabrics. This material was used so that, with the support of textile designer Renato Imbroisi, each participant could parade at the opening of the show, on January 25 of that year, wearing a replica of an outfit with the new prints. “I ask each of them to try to put their identity in these images, their emotional charges, and they leave here painting the museum wall with a dishcloth”, explains Nador.

In places generally abandoned by public policies, the insertion in the production system of the JAMAC ends up being a tool of exemplary self-esteem, therefore, of dignity. “You see the transformation taking place in the person,” says Nador.

Just as Beuys's defense was to take the artist out of a specific field, the art system, Nador abandoned museums with the same impulse. “I realized that a lot of paint was wasted inside a museum while there were a lot of walls in need of color around”, he often says. The inspiration for this came from the master's degree supervised by Regina Silveira, at USP, and the reading of The End of Painting, by Douglas Crimp, author that she received at JAMAC, in a closed meeting, in April 2015.

Motivated by an academic debate, it seeks new forms of expression until it reaches the Walls Paintings, due to an invitation to work in the Solidarity University Program, in 1998, in Nilo Peçanha, Bahia. It was there that she realized that she shouldn't be like a “foreigner” painting murals in the city: “I held a drawing workshop and asked the participants to represent their local culture. We took a vote and painted masks and drums on our wall.”

Two years later, Nador created, in São José dos Campos, his hometown, the first permanent collective experience, Vila Rhodia Arte Clube. The experience did not go forward, but the idea of ​​setting up a project with a lasting character remained and, three years later, the JAMAC, which led the artist to live permanently on the periphery. “I thought I had to live because this format of going back and forth was not comfortable for me, because what was important was contact with people”, she explains.

No JAMAC, Nador continued to teach the residents of the houses he visits and frequents how to use techniques such as the stencil (paper masks that allow serial painting), with simple themes as motifs, from kitchen objects to animals or plants, generally chosen by the residents themselves. . However, she is not the only one leading this process. In ten years, she stimulated the formation of several members of JAMAC. A resident of Jardim Miriam, Daniela Vidueiros, for example, coordinated the workshops in the Paço das Artes project. “In this work, I see myself as an art director,” she says, again, with an ironic edge.

In 2015, the JAMAC carried out two other projects abroad: in Puerto Rico, at the Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, and in Toulouse, France, at the Rio Loco Festival, where Daniela Vidueiros and Paulo Meira went. The survival of the group is always an issue. Ponto de Cultura since 2010, but with funds transferred irregularly, the R$ 60 thousand received annually is very little for the maintenance of the headquarters. If, on the one hand, the collective character of the work is fundamental, on the other hand, Nador's catalytic figure makes his presence essential, which, naturally, causes wear and tear. “Here, everyone fights, leaves, but I blow the whistle and everyone comes back”, he says, in a way that Subcomandante Marcos could have said.

With that, the show exhibited at Paço das Artes, which presented both fabrics with prints, produced in Jardim São Remos, and others that accompanied the JAMAC for years, like that of subcomandante Marcos, it was just a kind of documentation of a much broader process, which has its essence in the configuration of connections between people, mostly from marginalized places. That was exactly what Beuys preached after all: “Every man is an artist. This does not mean, of course, that every man is a painter or sculptor. No, I am speaking here of the aesthetic dimension of human work, and of the moral quality that is found there, that of the dignity of man”.

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