Horizontal, color photo. Work THOUSAND EYE, by Lia Chaia. In the background, a white wall. A white woman, with her eyes closed and her brown hair tied back. The photograph frames her from the shoulders up. She has bare shoulders. Seven red strands wrap its head horizontally and spaced apart. The first at the hairline, the others parallel, crossing the rest of the face, the last being at the height of your chin. Hanging on the wires, several round pieces refer to eyes, they are white with a brown circle inside and a black circle inside it, as if they were iris and pupil. The work is part of the exhibition SAY NO
"A Thousand Eyes", by Lia Chaia. Photo: Disclosure

CHow and why continue to produce in times of death and mourning? What can art against barbarism? These provocations were the starting point for 47 artists to come together in the exhibition Say No. Organized by Adriana Rodrigues, Edu Marin, Érica Burini and Thaís Rivitti, with the support of Workshop 397, the show started on the 22nd of July and runs until the 19th of September.

For Rivitti, the initiative is, above all, a political position. "say no resumes the possibility of art saying. To enunciate conflicts, to address the present, to materialize what is socially posited but which has not yet been consciously, collectively and publicly elaborated”. During the last few months, sadness and nonconformity regarding the direction of the country seemed constant in the conversations of those who today participate in the project. The government's postures in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, cultural activities and the environment, as well as the legitimization of a series of racist and LGBTphobic postures, were some of the conflicts that needed to be enunciated. From this need for enunciation, the title of the exhibition is born, “'saying no' seems to us to be a strong expression to mark the deep disagreement and indignation that the statements and political measures of the current government have been arousing in a large part of the population and, more specifically, in artists and other professionals in the field of culture”, explains Rivitti.

Demonstrations around Brazil have been facing these issues, and, initially, the organizers thought of building the exhibition based on the logic of the protests: the more people, the better. Thus, they would gather as many participants as possible. “The strength of the protest could be measured by the number of people who engaged in it”, says Rivitti. However, a question emerged from this strategy: wouldn't the option for a quantitative exhibition reinforce the invisibility of artists perpetrated by the government? “We realized that it was necessary, more than ever, to show the unique experience that each work of art is capable of proposing. Thus, we chose to invite as many artists as we could encompass, as long as it was possible to present their work without any interference, with the strength and presence that each one demands”, he concludes.

Today say no brings together artists and collective from different generations, between established names and young people at the beginning of their careers. The complete list is made up of Adriano Machado, Ana Dias Batista, André Komatsu, Bertô, Bruna Kury and Gil Porto Pyrata, Cildo Meireles, Clara Ianni, Craca and Raphael Franco, Cuca Ferreira, Daniel Jablonski, Denise Alves-Rodrigues and Pablo Vieira, Edu Marin, Elizabeth Slamek, Fernando Burjato, Flora Leite, Frederico Filippi and CL Salvaro, Graziela Kunsch, Isael Maxakali, JAMAC, João Loureiro, Juçara Marçal, Kadija de Paula & Chico Togni, Kauê Garcia, Laura Andreato and MuitoKoisas, Leda Catunda, Lia Chaia, Lícida Vidal, Lucimélia Romão, Marcelo Amorim, MUSEUL*RA and Ateliê A good place, Paola Ribeiro, Rafael Amorim, Raphael Escobar, Regina José Galindo, Rochelle Costi, Shima, Sol Casal, Vânia Medeiros and Wagner Pinto.

With interventions in the exhibition space, works created from "combat" materials - such as pens, licks and posters -, and large-scale productions - which seek to counteract the invisibility of the themes addressed -, the exhibition proposes a resistance not only discursive, but also plastic, explains the organizer Érica Burini. “There are works here that can help us to reform questions and ways of seeing the present, history and also the future”.

No sponsorship, funding or financial support, say no is built independently, through voluntary participation and a collective financing. “Having been able to organize all this movement independently is the biggest sign that the artists are mobilized and thinking about the serious crisis that Brazil is facing”, says Rivitti. To which Erica Burini adds: “The realization of this show is one more demonstration, among others, that even with many limitations, art and artists will not remain silent in the face of barbarism”.

say no
WHERE: R. Cruzeiro, 802 – Barra Funda, São Paulo (SP). Visit the project website.
WHEN: July 22 to September 19. Thursdays and Fridays, from 14 pm to 18 pm; Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 am to 19 pm.
Free admission

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