The 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil announced last weekend the name of the winners of the current edition, on display at Sesc 24 de Maio. They are Aykan Safoglu (Turkey), Dana Awartani (Saudi Arabia), Gabriela Golder (Argentina), Nelson Makengo (Democratic Republic of Congo), No Martins (Brazil), Roney Freitas & Isael Maxakali (Brazil), Omar Mismar (Lebanon) , Thanh Hoang (Vietnam) and the collective Movimento de Luta nos Bairros, Vilas e Favelas (Brazil). The awards range from residency projects in different institutions, honorable mentions and acquisitions to integrate the Sesc Collection of Contemporary Art. The laureates also received a trophy created by Alexandre da Cunha at the invitation of the Bienal.
The jury's choices reflect the diversity of the show, which brings together works by 55 artists, and above all confirm Videobrasil's vocation to become an important space for the dissemination and stimulation of artistic production in the countries of the Global South. The involvement of several institutions from different countries of this geopolitical axis – Instituto Sacatar (Brazil); MMCA Residency Changdong (South Korea) and Sharjah Art Foundation (United Arab Emirates) – further expands this propagation potential of Videobrasil.
With four laureates, Brazil has a remarkable and multifaceted presence, in which there is an important presence of works with a high degree of social awareness, such as the canvases in which No Martins takes a strong position in the denunciation of racism, or in the fierce militancy for the struggle for housing, witnessed by the video “Tell it to those who say we were Defeated”, by the Movement for struggle in Bairros, Vilas e Favelas. Symptomatically, the title of this work was inspired by a poem by the Palestinian Narjan Darwish, symbolizing that the phenomenon of struggle for housing is not restricted to one country or group.
The question of memory is at the base of works such as those by Tang Kwok-Hin, who deals with the belongings of his ancestors, and by Dana Awartani, who focuses on the erasure of the architectural tradition of his country in the face of the oppressive and violent modernization of the customs, by contrasting an ephemeral composition, made of sand following the geometric patterns of tiles typical of Arab culture, to a video in which she appears sweeping a similar floor, undoing an ancient art in seconds.
21st Bienal Sesc_Videobrasil I Imagined Communities
Sesc 24 de Maio – Rua 24 de Maio, 109, Center – São Paulo
From October 9, 2019 to February 2, 2020