"Sem título, sem pele – Da tragédia a utopia" (2018), Kiluanji Kia Henda (detalhe). Foto: Divulgação.
Black art

Curator Diane Lima talks to SP-Arte about representativeness in Brazilian art

Marina Dias Teixeira / Barbara Mastrobuono
6 Dec 2018, 11:35 am

Por ocasião do Mês da Consciência Negra, a SP-Arte conversou com diversos curadores negros sobre sua trajetória e como enxergam o momento artístico brasileiro atual. Não é porque novembro acabou que a reflexão em torno do assunto precisa parar! Confira aqui a primeira entrevista da série, com a curadora Diane Lima.

Above: "Sem título, sem pele - Da tragédia a utopia" (2018), Kiluanji Kia Henda (detail). Photo: Publicity.

What made you decide to start working as a curator?

Diane Lima: The desire came from the need to think about critical, educational and exhibition programs that would be able to elaborate other perspectives of knowledge, especially Latin American and of the African diaspora. I understand curation as an activity that mobilizes several sensitive narratives to create a totality of discourse, which has as one of its main objectives the production of knowledge. My practice is linked to occupying spaces and combating the devaluation, denial and hiding of the contributions from other epistemologies that find no place in history and in the art system as we know it. Since it is scientific knowledge practices that legitimize beauty standards and who deserves to be seen or not, it is important to question which bodies and geographies Western art history contemplates, and which ones it hierarquizes below the line of visibility, undermining them in terms of their veracity.

Vista da exposição "Diálogos ausentes" (2016-2017), no Itaú Cultural Curadoria Diane Lima e Rosana Paulino (Foto: André Seiti)

Exhibition view of "Diálogos ausentes" (2016-2017), at Itaú Cultural

Curated by Diane Lima and Rosana Paulino (Photo: André Seiti)

Vista da exposição "Diálogos ausentes" (2016-2017), no Itaú Cultural Curadoria Diane Lima e Rosana Paulino (Foto: André Seiti)

Exhibition view of "Diálogos ausentes" (2016-2017), at Itaú Cultural

Curated by Diane Lima and Rosana Paulino (Photo: André Seiti)

What is the focus of your curatorial research?

DL: I have been working with what I call a “curatorial practice in the decolonial perspective of black Latin American women”, a practice that takes into account other perspectives of knowledge, performing its discourse in the aesthetic field while establishing an ethics in institutional structures. I am interested in the subjective, incarnated and singular elaboration of Afro-Latin American and diasporic art, which announces new worlds and ways of seeing and doing and which, above all, finds resonance in other bodies and cultures in the geopolitics of power. I have said that creating in perspective is talking about the world from yourself and not talking about yourself from the world anymore. Sewing these transits in a multidisciplinary way is what has moved me. From the ethical point of view, if the very nature of the exhibitions makes it a contestable terrain when we talk about a practice that wants to be decolonial, performing the discourse is thinking about these policies of exhibition of the other and the structural and institutional relations that perpetuate control systems, which in turn restrict opportunities and make work relationships precarious for racialized, dissident or subordinate bodies.

What changes have you identified in the São Paulo art scene over recent years?

DL: I am currently in Madrid, where I was invited to participate in a residency program in curatorial research by Matadero Madrid and FelipaManuela. Taking into account what I am seeing here and from here, I have no doubt that Brazil today occupies an extremely important place in the world in what concerns the intellectual and artistic production that wants to be anti-colonial and anti-racist. As this is a scenario that was constituted in the last five years from advances related to technology, education and a legacy of diverse militancy and social movements, I believe that the biggest change was the change itself: we speak of protagonism, visibility, ascension to institutional spaces and to the very revolutionary effects that art in conjunction with politics can promote in our society and which has been, in the delicate moment we live in, one of the main forces of resistance. We must recognize that this is a milestone that is linked mainly to black women’s movements across the country and to the expansion of black feminism around the world.

Antônio Tarsis "Cavalo I" (2015) e "Cavalo II" (2015) Vista da exposição "Não me aguarde na retina" (2018), no Valongo Festival Internacional da Imagem Curadoria Diane Lima (Foto: Divulgação)

Antônio Tarsis

"Cavalo I" (2015) and "Cavalo II" (2015)

Exhibition view of "Não me aguarde na retina" (2018), at Valongo Festival Internacional da Imagem

Curated by Diane Lima

(Photo: Publicity)

Vista da exposição "Sem título, sem pele - Da tragédia a utopia" (2018), individual do artista Kiluanji Kia Henda no Valongo Festival Internacional da Imagem Curadoria Diane Lima (Foto: Divulgação)

Exhibition view of "Sem título, sem pele - Da tragédia a utopia" (2018), solo show by artist Kiluanji Kia Henda at Valongo Festival Internacional da Imagem

Curated by Diane Lima

(Photo: Publicity)

Do you have a black artist to recommend?

DL: I would have many, but the production by Jota Mombaça, Sondra Perry, Satch Hoyt and Kiluanji Kia Henda displace me. The latter is an Angolan artist, whose solo exhibition I just curated at the Valongo International Image Festival. I also keep a close eye on the younger generation, like Ana Almeida and Iagor Peres, just to name a few.

What are your expectations for the future?

DL: I think we live in a very slippery moment when it comes to political issues in Brazil. So, the greatest expectation is that it will be possible to continue working, making and disputing the project of a country that is for everyone and not for the maintenance of the power and privilege of some. Also, at the moment, I am preparing for a three-month season in Germany, where I am curating together with Mário Lopes the artistic residency program PlusAfroT, which will take place at Villa Waldberta in Munich and will be attended by eight Brazilian artists.

Cecília Bona "Cacos" (2013-2018) Vista da exposição "Não me aguarde na retina" (2018), Valongo Festival Internacional de Imagem Curadoria Diane Lima (Foto: Divulgação)

Cecília Bona

"Cacos" (2013-2018)

Exhibition view of "Não me aguarde na retina" (2018), Valongo Festival Internacional de Imagem

Curated Diane Lima

(Photo: Publicity)

About Diane Lima

Diane Lima is an independent curator, researcher and creative director. Master in Communication and Semiotics at PUC-SP, her work focuses on experimenting with multidisciplinary curatorial practices in a decolonial perspective. She created the AfroTranscendence immersion program in creative processes (Red Bull Station / Galpão VideoBrasil), and curated the Diálogos Ausentes in 2016 and 2017 (Itaú Cultural), a program that discussed the presence of black people in the most different areas of expression, culminating with the homonymous exhibition in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the same year, she created A.Gentes – Program for Immersion in Racial Issues aimed at Itaú Cultural employees. In 2018, she was the curator of the Valongo International Image Festival, a member of the CCSP Art Critics Group (Centro Cultural São Paulo), in addition to being a judge on several selection and award commissions, such as the Bravo Award! of Culture, EDP Prize in the Arts of the Tomie Othake Institute and Artsonica of Oi Futuro. In 2019, she carries out the PlusAfrot Residence at Villa Waldberta in Munich-Germany.


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Marina Dias Teixeira graduated in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of the Arts London (UAL). She has worked as part of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and Sotheby’s Brazil teams. Today, she is responsible for the institutional relations department of SP-Arte. In parallel, she researches decolonial theories and the production by Afro-diasporic artists in the contemporary arts circuit, with a focus on black women.


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Barbara Mastrobuono is an editor, translator and researcher. She has worked in publishing houses such as Editora 34 and Cosac Naify, and served as the editorial coordinator of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo. Among the titles she translated are “Tunga”, with text by Catherine Lampert; “Poesia Viva”, by Paulo Bruscky, with text by Antonio Sergio Bessa; and “Jogos para atores e não autores”, by Augusto Boal. She defended her master’s dissertation at the Department of Literary Theory at the University of São Paulo. She is currently chief editor of SP-Arte.

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