On September 7, 1822, the cry of Ipiranga marked the Independence of Brazil. However, only 66 years later, in 1888, the “cries for freedom of the more than 4,86 million people who were enslaved in the country” began to be heard. In 2022, structural racism still permeates relationships. This is what the text that opens Other Ships, solo exhibition by photographer Eustáquio Neves at Sesc Ipiranga, in São Paulo. Traversing almost 40 years of production by the artist from Minas Gerais, a descendant of enslaved black people, the show brings a story of diasporas and resistance.
“It is a work that captures and manipulates images linked to ethnic-racial relations promoted in the past and present, such as violence against bodies, intolerance against rites and the deprivation of rights of the black population”, highlights the curator of the show, Eder Chiodetto.
Self-taught photographer and video artist, Eustáquio Neves develops his work through experiments in analog photography, using knowledge acquired in his training as a technician in Industrial Chemistry. “We can clearly see that he built the image in layers, in which, in addition to photography, painting, abrasions, documents, manumission letters [etc.] are interposed. I tend to see Eustáquio's work as a construction of these layers, as if it were a way of revealing the historical truths that were constructed. As if it could reveal the labyrinths of history, where we could also hear the dissident discourses”, says the curator.
Thus, walking through the exhibition, we come across series such as Punishment Mask – which brings together the face of the artist's mother and the image of a torture mask that was commonly used on enslaved people - and Arthur - which depicts the commemoration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, patron saint of black brotherhoods in colonial Brazil.
“My stories are very autobiographical, I talk a lot about myself, I talk a lot about my origins as a black person. I basically tell a story through images”, says Eustáquio Neves to arteries, a documentary series by Sesc TV, directed by Helena Bagnoli. In the episode about the photographer, he shares his story, the trajectory of his works and the motivations that create them (click here to watch). “The person who woke me up to what I do was Arthur Bispo do Rosário. When I saw an exhibition of him [Records of My Passage on Earth, at the Pampulha Art Museum in 1989], I felt that I could do whatever I wanted with photography. Then I get into this photography thing, I said: 'look, photography doesn't have to be just what I've learned so far, photography can be other things'”, he adds.
A arte!brasileiros visited the exhibition and spoke with the curator. Check out:
Other Ships: Photographs by Eustáquio Neves permeates several spaces at Sesc Ipiranga. With works at the entrance and on a panel in the external area, it focuses mainly on three rooms, which form the nucleus of the exhibition. Room 1 brings together a set of works that allude to the violence and silencing perpetrated against enslaved people. The second, as the curator explains to us, is perhaps proposed as a space for healing. In it are located series that thematize resistance through ancestral knowledge and Afro-Brazilian rituals, images of Eustáquio's family and, in the center, an exhibition of the processes used by the photographer in his creations. Finally, room 3 displays a video installation, created from the raw material of three videos by the artist: Post No Bill (Nigeria, 2009 – 2022), belly (Nigeria, 2009 – 2022) and Crispin: Orderer of Souls, (Brazil, 2006 – 2022). “It's a more energetic room”, explains Chiodetto, proposing that the visit ends in this environment that encourages reflection and moves the spectator.
Other ships: photographs by Eustáquio Neves
September 6th to February 26th, 2023
Sesc Ipiranga: Rua Bom Pastor, 822, Ipiranga, São Paulo
Visitation from Tuesday to Friday, from 9 am to 21:30 pm; Saturday, from 10 am to 21 pm; Sunday and public holidays, from 30 am to 10 pm