Exhibition Statement: I’m originally from Brazil and have lived in the United States for the past 22 years. I come from the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia, which is full of spirituality and interrelations among European, Indigenous, and African cultures. During the period of African slavery, millions of African people, particularly the Yoruba, were forcibly brought to the Americas. The Yoruba and other Africans worked as slaves or underwent forced labor on the plantations of Brazil, and the first slaves arrived in Bahia. They brought their religions, food, music, and dance to Brazil.
My time spent in the Brazilian and American cultures has led me to constantly create art as a union of language between me and my native culture. I have been inspired by my deep connection with nature, mostly through my memories of spending long summers at the beach and my fascination for the African art and religion that has shaped my home city.
My ceramic pieces are mostly symbolic objects in various scales: sculptures, vessels, totems, and tiles. While creating, I look for aesthetic relationships between my sources of inspiration. Clay has been the best medium for me to express this dynamic union. I employ labor-intensive surface treatments by using textures, organic shapes, distorted masses, blended colors, and craft media.
When I was a kid, I witnessed one of the Yoruban rituals as part of new year’s celebration by our beach house. Since I was raised Catholic and was never exposed to the African religions, that ritual scared me in a way but at the same time really intrigued me. Even though I was taught to respect the African religion, it was never a major part of my family. In fact, we were skeptical about the mystery and magic behind the rituals.
Living in this country for so many years has made me feel nostalgic and homesick, so I have frequently gone back to my childhood memories. One of the ways I have found to keep these memories alive has been to study and demystify the mystery and obscurity I had towards the rituals. Since then, unconsciously, or not, my admiration for the rituals’ colors, costumes, magic, mystery, sounds, and objects has been integral to my story and has become a strong reference used in my art. These memories have come to life.
I’m fascinated by the relationships between human beings and the powerful spirits of the Orishas. The Orishas are spirits that help people achieve the destiny that God planned for them before they were born. They are still represented in rituals to offer help and to guard people by protecting them from evil types of spirits, influences, and energy.