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The #brazilianart project cannot begin in a better way than with a two-hour chat with Sergio Adriano H.

A wonderful and super controversial character who has a fluid dialectic but a precise, true and raw message to tell. 

When you ask him, Who are you, his answer is stark: 

I am the son of a white father and a black mother, I have five siblings and I was born in Joinville a town in the south of Brazil with a very high rate of racism. In school I was called a macaque (monkey), and in my life my parents never taught me to ask questions and consequently, never taught me to dream.

This is the focal point of all of Sergio's production: who he was, who he is, and in between a thousand questions that today he seeks the answer to through art.

 And art literally saved his life. Passionate about fashion, he did not know how to draw and consequently could not express his concepts, so it was that he enrolled in a drawing class where he first came into contact with art and then - competing with himself - began to win award after award, giving voice to his dreams and answers to his questions. 

From an early age, stamps were put on him, those "verdades apresentadas" (false truths) that we all went through one day and that makes society what it currently is, so much so that he asked himself, "Why does the color of my skin bother others so much? Why does the color of my skin make me better or worse than another person? So does my social status? 

These are questions that everyone should stop and answer one day, and Sergio does so through his production, which he calls "knowledge-creating." Indeed, it is no coincidence that he began studying philosophy: questions lead to knowledge.

The word is fundamental in describing certain concepts, and the book becomes one of the fundamental mediums for producing answers.

Passionate about books, he goes to the "Sebo" (used book store) where he buys many books that have specific meanings, pastes the pages (knowledge is not accessible to everyone), and modifies the cover with words that refer to societal prejudices.

Over all the words "negros" and "pretos" which are banned from the vocabulary, but which exists and is always used in its pejorative meaning. Turning these books into something else, messengers of a precise and true concept:

Why is it that in the books there are no illustrious figures in the history of Brazil, whether in art or otherwise, who have black skin?

In Brazil, there are stamps that are used to mark bags of coffee (coffee, slaves, skin color...ring a bell?), Sergio uses these stamps to create words that he could not say (Series "Palavras Tomadas"), that are out of the clean context of society and that take on a meaning of resistance and denunciation.

Beyond the search for words, for Sergio the relationship with people is fundamental; confrontation leads to questions, but it also leads to answers. As when in the cell to a bicycle, he carries his photographs around, giving birth to the "gallery on bicycle" 


#brasilianart (16).jpg

The focus is on sharing with society so that people, after meeting the artist and his work, go home with many questions they will probably never get the right answer to.

Like when, dressed to the nines, he went around with his photographs of him with his face painted white ("raptura do invisivel" series), the 15 most racist cities in the state, ending up in the central square of his city, Joinville.

The chat with Sergio was much more than what I could tell you here. He is many things and his output is a healthy bearer of answers to questions we all ask, so much so that he deserves a special place in many important museums in Brazil, such as the MAR in Rio. And one of his long-term goals is precisely to get into museums and show that even an artist with a different skin color can have a prominent place in art history.

"grito do silencio" series

However, I would like to conclude this story of mine about Sergio with the work that has stuck in my mind the most, namely the one entitled "o lugar que eu pertenco, e o lugar que eu nao pertenco" (the place to which I belong, and the place to which I do not belong).

They are 2 photographs: the first is taken on a major street in São Paulo (Rua Treze de Maio - day of the abolition of slavery in Brazil), where he portrays himself dressed only in his skin inside a garbage can (similar to a cage) and calls it "the place where I belong."

o lugar que pertenco

While the second photo is taken in a major park in São Paulo, where Sergio photographs himself naked above a pedestal, but a little in semi-darkness (it was noon when he took the picture), letting the darkness partly cover his body, and this is "the place where I don't belong."

This work captured me not only because of its meaning but because many times even I here in Europe - I who have had the immense good fortune to have a skin that society likes - have felt out of place. Simply because I belonged to another culture...and I always asked myself," why is my not being completely Italian not liked?" 

Perhaps only today do I find the answer, and I understand why so many times I felt I was in a place where I did not belong.

And I thank Sergio for the opportunity he has given me, through his art, to learn to ask myself questions and thus to dream. 

To learn a little more about Sergio Adriano H you can visit his instagram page and the website of the gallery of which choque cultural is a part

(Special thanks go to Tomas Cajueiro who is helping me in the difficult search for all these wonderful artists. )

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