Rafael Kamada

Meide in Brazil

01 Jul – 27 Jul, 2019

29 Jun, 11h–15h

Kogan Amaro Gallery
Alameda Franca, 1054
Jardim Paulista, São Paulo, SP

Meide in Brazil

Stroke by stroke, in a constant cyclic motion, like the sound of a drum that with each beat,gains more strength and body. Up close, the furrows remain parallel, like furrows carved into canvases and walls. When viewed in perspective, they form expressions, scars, delimit the space and configure the vast creative universe that is the artist Francisco Rodrigues da Silva, better known by his pseudonym Nunca (meaning never). The 36-year-old São Paulo native is one of the most prominent names in the national and international graffiti scene and owns an extremely recognizable style that has already made disciples on the streets and on canvas. After dozens of exhibitions at institutions around the world, he opens “Meide in Brazil”, his first solo show on Brazilian soil.

His memorable style alludes to engravings, a printing technique used by the colonists since the discovery of Brazil to portray Indians, tradition, fauna and flora of the country – who sent the prints to their respective Portuguese, Dutch and French colonies. This reference joins the transgression of language used by Nunca as a contemporary artist, who lives in a large metropolis, in a globalized and connected world, but who continues to marginalize his origins. “I make my art in a way to question what we, as a people, are creating and cultivating culturally, what is legitimately Brazilian, what is true or false from the historical point of view of our nation,” he explains.

It’s no wonder that the figures created by him are a reflection of the origin of Brazil, but in a particular way. Indigenous people are portrayed using brand logos and products from foreign cultures – in a way of explaining, according to the artist, the devaluation of our culture. But it’s not just indigenous people who are part of Never’s canvases and murals, which are painted using spray or acrylic paint and are presented around the globe. These characters also appear mixed with other marginalized cultures – a direct parallel to graffiti, which is perceived as an evil urban manifestation to the eyes of society. In this revisited anthropophagy, Never mixes external references to Brazilian models, which results into something never seen before.

The pseudonym used by him since the beginning of his relationship with art and the streets reinforces his transgressive way of thinking. “I adopted the pseudonym from the moment I understood that one could not express himself artistically around the city. At the same time, advertisements for products, cigarettes and alcohol are allowed. Consumer ideology is pushed down our throats at all times. ‘Nunca’ (Never) came as a denial to all this denial of our freedom,” he explains.

This look at unbridled consumption appears in “Brinde” (Toast) a canvas the artist began painting ten years ago and that is part of show. His production came shortly after returning from Miami in 2009, when he joined the first team to paint Wynwood Walls’ murals. In his mural he portrayed an indigenous character throwing a shoe to two consumers, both drowning in the middle of objects frequently acquired by today’s society. “Today, we live a process of neo-colonization, in which brands and products are the agents of cultural formation of a country,” he explains. This link between different forms of production is usual.

“It’s all connected, the works, the murals, us and our ancestors.

Ana Carolina Ralston