In April 2017, I partnered with Solange Barcelos de Castro Fernandes in the “Nos Kausa” project, a cultural and social center in Tarrafal.
Apart from being an art gallery where exhibitions were and are still held, it’s an open space to all different kinds of publics, a dynamic arts and culture space. It’s a meeting point for artists where they can work and do exhibitions and a place where topics such as solidarity, environment and education are addressed in a ludic, creative way.
I do truly and most honestly believe that the most important thing in education are the arts. Art is the soul of us human beings, it’s how we manifest and understand our own world, the world that surrounds us.
One of the most beautiful capacities that we have as human beings is to be able to appreciate and treasure the sublime in nature and within the societies that we live in it.
And art, and here I include any kind of creative manifestation like visual arts, music, dance and literature, is the medium through which we, the people, represent our own experiences. Art is the how we represent them.
Should art be more understandable sometimes so that more people can relate to it?
I believe that every individual interprets and creates freely from their own experience and that there should not be any imposed limits, no formal or conceptual censorship.
To understand a piece of art in any kind of discipline can sometimes be very hard or even impossible for some people. To understand a piece of art is to understand the theoretical, practical, personal and sentimental experience of the creator.
I believe that a piece of art is the extention of the artist’s soul, it means to make the conceptual physical.
Understanding is not always possible here , just as being understood isn’t always possible.
When people ask me what one of my pieces mean, I always wonder what answer I should give. The long one is that any artwork I create is my own life experience, gathered throughout all the years. The short one is that it’s ismply what you see, that it’s a graphic description of my ideas, a graphic abstraction.
The understanding of an artwork is something very complex and the viewer’s interest is a very important part of it.
Taking your time, learning how to see and to reflect, all this is part of is, because in many occasions the people who visit galleries or museums don’t even dedicate 30 seconds to every piece.
And this doesn’t only happen in the visual arts but as well in music for example, when you listen to a music genre for the first time: most of the people don’t put in the time to really listen to it and to try to understand. They often don’t take the time that’s needed to comprehend the effort this person, the artist, has put into this work, courageous enough to share her or his sensitivity with the world, their experiences and feelings.
It’s a lot easier for the public to say that somethig is crap than to be truly able to say it is beautiful. Sometimes people even go as far as to say to artists when seeing a piece: “And THIS is what you studied Fine Arts for?”
I do believe, however, that this is because it’s how we were educated as children: we were taught not to appreciate new things, to digest everything already masticated.
We were taught to learn things by heart without questioning what we’re actually studying or looking at.
And that’s why I want to come back to the importance that art has in children’s education (may it be theatre, sports, music, dance, philosophy or the visual arts)
Since ancient times, art has been a pillar in the education of societies but in the present they are minor disciplines. The politicians don’t pay attention to the arts and don’t have any kind of interest in supporting them, all the contrary: with every new curriculum the art classes are cut down, subjects like visual arts, music and philosophy have less and less hours in school’s curriculums.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on “Kala Boka”, a painting series that portrays child abuse and violence against children in Cape Verde. “Kala Boka” is Capeverdean Creole and its translation is “Shut your mouth”.
It’s a topic that is very dear to me and that has a big importance on the islands. Children get beaten inside their homes, the classrooms and sometimes even in the streets. A lot of Cape Verdeans think that to beat children in order to educate them is a good and useful thing.
About the Kala Boka exhibition in the Suboart Exhibition room starting on April 25th, 2021.
This virtual exhibition, that I’m very excited about, will include collages, mixed media works and paintings, as well as one audio visual. There will be a free digital PDF catalogue available for download that speaks about the project and the topic behind it.
After the official end of the exhibition it will still stay available online for those who’d like to revisit it or missed during the three weeks in the virtual exhibition room.
Lucian Freud & other favourites
Now I’d love to share some of my favourite artists with you and I want to start with Lucien Freud: I absolutely love how he uses the paint, how he creates and works with these heavy pasty textures that the bodies he paints are made of. Another artist I admire is Isidro Ferrer: he knows how to combine visual forms with a clear concept, and I like how he plays and at the same time unites objects and words.
I’m also very much interested in the work of Joan Cornellá: I love his black humour and how he talks about the stupidities that happen in our societies.
Last but not least there is Abebayo Bolaji who is a painter as well. I admire him for his eccentric figures, his paintings filled with symbols, icons and abstract forms. All of the painters I mentioned have inspired me in one way or another and I keep on constantly learning from their works.
My hopes for the future
As I´m currently working in a very small space, my wish for the future is to have a bigger space where I can work freely and don’t have to limit myself to small and medium size works. If that wish comes true, I’d also love to create sculptures again and work with many other tools that I’m not able to use right now.