28 julho 2012

Da Saudade, by Angela Magalhães and Nadja Peregrino

(...) Patricia Gouvêa, filled with longing for her ancestors, goes on taking pictures of Festa do Divino, in Florianópolis, the most important celebration in the Azorian calendar. Because of its Christian nature, that event cannot be dissociated from the devotion to the Holy Spirit or from the tradition that has been preserved by means of solidary initiatives and religious experience. Having taken place for over two hundred and fifty years in the community of Santo Antônio de Lisboa, in the capital city of the state of Santa Catarina, it is invariably represented by its folkloric nature through which Azorians try to preserve the authenticity and rigor of the liturgical act. In fact, Gouvêa begins investigating the Portuguese cultural heritage in 1999, in Rio de Janeiro. On that occasion, she becomes aware of the importance of rituals for the Portuguese-Brazilian community that seeks to reaffirm a direct connection with the memories of a rural past in pre-emigrating times. More than that, Gouvêa believes it is possible to reaffirm her ties by means of a forgotten family ancestor; a time-faded picture; the Portuguese fellow who owned the tavern on the corner; or even a close relation who, in spite of having lived in this country for a long time, keeps his or her heavy accent.

Those two essays produced in different times complement each other by blending separate facts in time whose outlines can be seen on a flexible map. Let us have a look at their itineraries. In the magnificent wall-less and limitless space of the sea, the boat image is a symbol of crossing. Time seems to revolve around itself, while water flows as if it were a roa s up little by little. Thus, the faint light of a small opening reflects itself on a lacemaker’s face; on a side, open parasols remain isolated, silent, in a corner of the house, as if in a shelter. The continuous play of hiding and revealing oneself seems to be in the portrait of a man who hides his face behind the mask of an animal, while the sun shines in the portraits of the child and the lacemakers. They are fold-filled hours that lay bare in the splendor of the Festa do Divino, where richly dressed characters arouse in us the memories of the time long past. Now the testimony of movement is provided by the kaleidoscope of images. There, the artist reproduces in a quasi-cinematographic manner a fragment of the lacemaker’s hand, whose virtually indiscernible visual differences are repeated, at times in an open album showing printed photos of the Festa do Divino, at times in the game shared by the men. Gouvêa has also made a video of that cele­bration. The affectionate and longing relationship emerges once again in the figure of the boat, 
a leisure place, a symbol of the journey of our existence. In succession, city ima­ges and noises, in addition to chants, have a remarkable power to give rise to sudden nostalgia. Deep down, they are longing mementos of the time expressed in its absence within us.

From the text "Skin and Life in the Flow of Time" by Angela Magalhães and Nadja Fonseca Peregrino (Associated Curators and Researchers)

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