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Lessons of Another World - So Close

Project developed for Lemaniana, at Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva, 2021

Curator Andrea Bellini with Mohamed Almusibli, Jill Gasparina and Stéphanie Moisdon

The series Aulas de Outro Mundo departs from pedagogical slides, which were originally used as tools for teaching history in Brazilian public schools during the years of military dictatorship [1964-1988]. Their narratives circumvent common colonial violence and their persisting correlations with the dictatorial regime in place. Banalising historical violence was a way to minimise the military actions, to perpetuate oppressive power.

The series starts with three color drawings reproducing pedagogical slides, each depicting an illustration with a caption. The source illustrations on the slide were watercolours and they have been reproduced with colouring pencil for this piece. The captions are translated to English and new captions are proposed, critically observing the originals and revising their content. It is a kind of counter-pedagogy, dismantling given subject matters. The new captions are photographs of a powerpoint projection, – updating the pedagogical device. Especially, the texts revisit the colonial past and its narration by the dictatorial regime, while re-contextualising history in relation to the present government, of 2021.

A second part of the project departs from the diapositive that opens the original series, figuring military artefacts and the Brazilian flag to introduce the History of Brazil [1500- 1550]. Why the presence of the flag, if it was only introduced in the 19th century? Why the presence of arms as foundational of Brazil? The picture points to the impossibility of power without violence, but did the military regime consider the incorporation of the military drums into the cultural life of the afro descendants? – From this last question, a sound piece and a series of blackboards present notes on the Congado, a religious festivity in which military and catholic references are transformed into a ritual of recognition of resisting communities and hommage to their past.

[2021] Multimedia Installation: 3 drawings in colored pencil on Mi-Teintes Art Board, 50x40 m; 4 photos – inkjet print on paper 210g, 50x40 cm; 5 photos – inkjet print on paper 210g, 30x20cm. Part II - Blackboard in situ 3 x 2 m with drawing and writings on chalk; 8 blackboards with drawing on chalk, 90 x 60 cm each; sound piece by Jalver Bethônico and Hannah Stewart. Collection of the artist.

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