"Root and Patchouli". Photography by visual artist Keila Serruya Sankofa. Photo: Publicity/National Trovoa

Thovering between art and design, the SP-Arte Viewing Room brings together 136 exhibitors between the 24th and 30th of August. This is the first virtual version of one of the most famous art fairs in Latin America and, for the first time, it hosts independent artistic projects. In the midst of national and international galleries, National Thunderstorm e 01.01 Art Platform compose the show with another look at art. 

“Since 2019, we have been talking to SP-Arte about the lack of representation and the lack of racial diversity at the institutional level of the arts market in Brazil”, explains Ana Beatriz Almeida, member of the 01.01 Art Platform. It is in this sense, bringing artistic productions and non-white worldviews from their own aesthetics and ethics, that the projects collaborate with the fair directed by Fernanda Feitosa (read our interview with the founder of SP-Arte).  

Decentralizing artistic discourse

Curated by Africans and Brazilians, and supported by institutions in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Ghana, 01.01 focuses on Afro and Afro-Diasporic artistic production. The platform seeks to re-signify the old trade routes of slavery, transforming them into a circuit of cultural exchange that promotes fair ways of collecting and consuming art. “We intend to educate the public in ethical and aesthetic terms for non-Western productions”, explains Ana Beatriz Almeida.

Levante Nacional Trovoa is a collective of network interaction formed by women and non-binary black, Asian and indigenous people. The project claims the urgency of the discussion about the art system in Brazil, with special attention to the visibility of racialized artists. “Since the hegemonic art circuit does not include our bodies and productions, the creation of a network becomes important, as it allows us to tell our narratives in various places, generating visibility”, say the artists - who chose to collectively respond to our interview. 

With more than 180 artists across Brazil, the collective has forty articulators spread across the five regions of the country. “Thus, we work with the aim of reducing regional borders, revealing discourses present on the borders and stimulating the decentralization of the artistic-cultural programming, which is mainly concentrated in the south-southeast axis of the country”, they explain. 

Between the physical and the virtual

01.01 would already participate in the fair in its physical version, but does not see the online format as an obstacle: “Digital gives us the chance to skip a step and bring the public closer to our conceptual collection, since our culture is largely immaterial ”, says Ana Beatriz Almeida. 

For Nacional Trovoa, the virtual was a facilitator: “Certainly, if the fair were in physical format, we would have to seek financial incentives to transport the works, since Trovoa is not a gallery. In this current model, each artist will be responsible for submitting their own work if the sale goes through.” In addition, the collective believes that the Viewing Room expands the possibilities for artists from other cities to participate and reaches a larger audience, which could not visit the fair in person. 

SP-Arte is an international event that attracts collectors from different countries and counts with the participation of numerous curators, gallery owners and directors of institutions. Expectations for this edition are no different and, as Levante Nacional Trovoa explains, “visibility for these audiences is extremely important for the artists of the collective, most of whom are still outside the art circuit”.

01.01 Art Platform believes that the contact with the projects is also important for the public itself, which can integrate with other worldviews, which go beyond the notion that art is limited to the artistic object, understanding it as a more wide range of practices and experiences. 

01.01 promotes Death & Life art residency, an international residency in which collectors live with artists and are introduced to habits and customs that support communities of African origin and permeate the platform's artwork. Photo: Publicity / 01.01 Art Platform

through other eyes

It is through the creation of these dialogues that both collectives intend to bring representation and non-white worldviews to the event, as part of a “constant negotiation with the hegemonic art circuit”, as explained by Nacional Trovoa.

To which Ana Beatriz Almeida, from 01.01, adds: “We understand that art is the first territory of thought reached by revolutionary movements. We are in a moment of profound change in the world, and our role in an art fair is to propose new perspectives of reality through an ethical and aesthetic approach unknown in the West. The lack of knowledge of these other layers of meaning is a direct result of racism, and our proposal is to deconstruct this structure from collecting as an active practice of building realities”.

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