Photo by Genilson Guajajara who was at the show of the first cycle of PREAMAR actions
Photo by Genilson Guajajara. Credit: Disclosure

O coming and going of the tides is part of everyday life in São Luís do Maranhão. The strong winds and the abundance of water are followed by the retraction of the sea, allowing different landscapes to be shown in a single day. The variation of the tides in Maranhão is one of the largest in the world and presents itself as a symbol of a multiplicity of scenarios, flows, productions and spiritual dynamics that involve the state. “So what is this abundance? What is this power, this strength of this place with so many diversities?”, provokes Samantha Moreira, one of the organizers of PREAMAR, new project art in the region. 

These are some of the issues that flow into the initiative, which seeks to foster and focus on the production of visual arts in the northeastern state from a network articulation. “It is in this same sense of strength, continuity and transformation, so typical of the tides, that we find a link to translate the long and constant trajectory of Maranhão production. A powerful territory, characterized by the wealth of singularities that spreads, invades, overflows and becomes global”, define the articulators. Even the choice of the word that gives the project its title refers to this natural movement: high tide is synonymous with 'high tide'. It is on the strength of this image that the initiative is built. 

collective immersion

The beginning, in April of this year, was based on a partnership between four fronts: “the SLZ floor, while this pole that always opened [artistic] laboratories, experiments and training processes; The Mermaid's House, which is a space for residences in Alcântara (MA); The Lima Gallery, which is a private gallery, but which has a very experimental process and character; and the Visual Arts course at Federal University of Maranhao, understanding the need to bring the body of professors to the discussion of these projects and the students to act and experience”, explains Samantha. The idealization in collective allowed a conversation between different proposals, perceptions and contexts, proposing that the diversity of Maranhão was transposed in the development of the first cycle of actions.

It was there that the networks began to expand. In homes, lived at Casa do Sereio, in the online conversation cycles and in the collective exhibition, new dives became part of PREAMAR. One of them took place together with the potters of Itamatatiua, to which the artists Silvana Mendes and Tassila Custodes developed a research with the Maranhão community, which is 50km from Alcântara and has a production of ceramics practiced for over 300 years with pieces that show the Quilombola way of life “with its resistance, ancestry and subjectivities”, explains the release. The fruits of these experiences were exposed at the first PREAMAR exhibition, along with other projects.

The show was built simultaneously at Chão SLZ, in the historic center of São Luís, and at Lima Galeria, in Cidade Nova. In both venues, the show discusses different media and languages, bringing together different generations of artists, seeking to compose a first panorama of contemporaneity in Maranhão. In these spaces, other networks began to be established: artists and audiences. Curated by the organizers of PREAMAR Frederico Silva, coordinator of the Department of Visual Arts at UFMA; Yuri Logrado, founder of Casa do Sereio; Marco Lima, director of Lima Galeria; and Samantha Moreira, coordinator Chão SLZ, the exhibition brought together works by Ceramists from Itamatatiua and Cláudio Costa, Dinho Araújo, Ge Viana, Genilson Guajajara, Ingrid Barros, Márcio Vasconcelos, Marcos Ferreira, Marlene Barros, Pablo Monteiro, Romana Maria, Silvana Mendes, Thiago Fonseca, Thiago Martins de Melo, Tassila Custodes, Tieta Macau, Ton Bezerra, Vicente Martins Jr. 

low tide

This first cycle ends on June 3, with the end of the group show. However, it is from this moment of low tide that the next actions emerge. The residencies, conversations and exhibitions already held take the form of research; it is from its processes, exchanges with artists, public statements, perceptions generated and the thinking of these already expanded networks that begin to design the next steps of PREAMAR.

In the second half of 2022, the project's online platform will be launched. The environment has been thought in order to articulate a process of documentation of this first action and to house new shows, aimed at an audiovisual production. In this regard, a virtual solo show by Maranhão filmmaker Beto Matuck is already planned. At the same time, a collective exhibition is being designed in person with other artists. “The idea is that we periodically have actions taking place at Chão SLZ, as well as within the university, at Lima Galeria and at Casa do Sereio. So, they actually follow articulations of continuous training processes”, says Samantha Moreira.

One of the main fronts of this training process are the residencies. “The idea is that, in the second half of the year, we will open other residencies for artists from Maranhão and, from next year, we will start to develop these activities in an expanded way, receiving artists from outside the state”, says Samantha. And she adds: “Understanding that it is very important that this flow of artists, researchers and curators from outside is always focused on the process of local training”.

For the organizer, this is a latent demand in the Maranhão art scene. “We need these processes of exchange and local articulation and also with what happens outside the island – which has a very great potential, but needs a process of continuous training, both in terms of a poetics of work, and of training and completion. of work, as of the process of criticism, of curation, of production, of montage.” Thus, the tides of PREAMAR are directed to flows of promotion of the local power, from a network of formation, and of interrelation with other Brazilian and international artistic scenes.

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