A based on dialogues initiated between the Inhotim Institute and the ipeafro in November 2020, the exhibition program entitled Abdias Nascimento and the Black Art Museum. Abdias Nascimento (Franca, SP, 1914 – Sao Paulo, SP, 2011) is one of the main references for critical action when it comes to the anti-racist struggle. He was a poet, writer, playwright, curator, visual artist, university professor, pan-Africanist, parliamentarian and founder of the Teatro Experimental do Negro, a project that created the Museum of Black Art. In opposition to Eurocentrism in the arts, MAN was designed by Abdias and his companions dedicated to valuing the artistic production and thought of black people and minority groups. It is composed of works collected by Abdias from 1950 to 1968, then in exile, between 1968 and 1981, and after returning to Brazil. The diversity and quantity of works and artists reinforces Abdias' character as an articulator and communicator.
Organized by acts, the agenda takes place both through biannual exhibitions of the MAN collection, which occupy the Mata gallery, at the Inhotim Institute, as well as temporary exhibitions and the commissioning of works. Each act is presided over by an orixá: the First act – Abdias Nascimento, Tunga and the Black Art Museum, took as an epistemological reference the orixá Oxum, an entity of fertility and prosperity, present in the yellow colors of the walls; O Second Act: Dramas for blacks and prologue for whites, was presided over by Oxóssi, orixá of knowledge; O Third Act: Spell, brought Exu, orixá of communication; and finally, Fourth Act – Quilombism: Documents of a Pan-Africanist Militancy, is being presented in November 2023, together with Xangô, orixá of Justice, as a yearning for reparation.
Based on the concept of “quilombismo”, a proposal for sociopolitical mobilization from Afro-diasporic perspectives elaborated by Abdias, the Fourth Act presents moments from the author’s life trajectory mixed with his practices of organization and collective articulation that resulted in the creation of the Experimental Theater do Negro (TEN) and the Black Art Museum. Other aspects of the Inhotim Institute exhibition talk about Santa Hermandad Orquídea (1939), a group of poets that marked Abdias's career, and his trips to the African continent (1974-77), where he sought his epistemological and aesthetic references. The last part of the exhibition shows works by MAN that reveal Nascimento's pan-Africanist thought. The entire exhibition is inhabited by works by different artists belonging to the collection.
Line of Business, Luana Vitra
As part of the program, last Saturday (11/11) the installation Line of Business (2023), by artist Luana Vitra (Contagem, MG, 1995), commissioned by Inhotim as the first occupation of Galeria Marcenaria. Two months earlier, the opening of the impressive installation took place Lung of the mine, commissioned for the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, in which Vitra uses the repetition feature to perform a prayer for human and non-human lives lost in disasters during mining activities during the slavery period. With her gaze formed by the mountain ranges of the distant landscapes of Minas Gerais, the artist from Minas Gerais continues to be permeated by local stories and poetics in the installation Line of Business. The work gets its name due to Vitra's interest in the movement of the lathe, which, when rotating a base material such as wood or clay, allows it to be shaped.
Upon entering the gallery, which looks like a long, narrow house with a single room, you will notice the white wall marked from end to end by a path of iron nails placed next to each other to form the silhouette of mining mountains. On top of them, small ceramic vases were carefully positioned. Near the ground, small arrows made of copper point upwards. Above this set, a thin transparent blue fabric runs up the wall and covers the entire ceiling of the room, like a veil magnetizing the room. At the edge of the fabric, small crossroads made of copper are repeated linearly throughout the room. Copper, clay, iron ore stone, fabric and indigo are the elements that make up Luana's installation for Inhotim and have been repeated in her latest works.
To the visitor's right, large ceramic urns are positioned on iron ore stones collected by the artist in Inhotim. From inside each of them, a large copper arrow comes out and points to the ceiling. In the year that marks four years since the dam collapse in Brumadinho, Luana recovers drawings that she made at the time of the environmental crime. At the time, drawing the mountains and mountain ranges of Minas Gerais was, for the artist, like recovering the local landscape that has been disappearing. Understanding that the limit of the human gaze only allows observing a distant object up to the point where it becomes white, the artist chooses scraping the ceramics as a poetic procedure to reveal mountains with the color of clay in the background. In this sense, removing the white color from the ceramics and bringing brown into view brings not only chromatic dimensions to the work, but also social ones.
Following the procedure of listening to materials, Vitra finds ways to perceive iron, the most abundant and explored local material. As copper is the second most conductive metal, the arrows pointing upwards signal the direction of the energy, which gives the work the healing power for the metals and the local earth, in connection with other places in the world where the earth is explored. The work also connects to several other works spread throughout the museum that have iron as the main element, as in Beam Drop Inhotim (2008), by Chris Burden, and Sonic Pavilion (2009), by Doug Aitken. Having Minas Gerais as a place of affection and ancestry, Luana Vitra creates an installation of faith at the Marcenaria gallery, with the ethical and aesthetic care of working with artists from Minas Gerais and carrying out a collective prayer for local healing.
Maria Luiza Meneses is an independent curator and educator. Graduating in art history
by UNIFESP, is part of the collectives RedLEHA, Nacional TROVOA and Rede Graffeiras
Black. Carries out the Pinacoteca Digital Mauá project (2019 – ), curated the exhibitions
Crossings of the modern in Mauá (2022) and Mundane Waste (2023). He was personal assistant to curator Diane Lima, working with an emphasis on research, production and curation during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, Choreographies of the Impossible (2022-2023). He has published texts on contemporary art, Afro-Brazilian artists, hip-hop culture, Freirean education and culture wars.