Selection of works where my first attempt to understand the history of Brazil. A history very different from the one I learnt at school.

This self-portrait alludes to the 'discovery of Brazil'. This piece was created in 2014 before starting university and deepening my understanding of the history of Brazil. However, we can still notice an attempt to portray the encounter between the Portuguese and the originary people at the time of the invasion.

In this image, I hold in my hands a form that resembles a fruit, a leaf and which operates here as an analogy to the vagina. This would be an attempt to explain the devastating process of miscegenation in Brazil, and the objectification of the bodies of black and indigenous women. This watercolour is framed in the shape of a keyhole, and alludes to the act of looking and being looked at. However in this work, I am talking about the anthropological sense of ‘looking and being looked at’ meaning, is relates to the exoticization and marginalization of certain subjectivities and bodies. (Otherness)

The Portuguese ships, are represented here by an alien spaceship, and make a parallel to the feeling of 'curiosity' of the originary people with the arrival of these ships on the Brazilian coast. At the same time, the European (biased) perception of the indigenous and their lack of capacity to understand other ways of existing apart from their Eurocentric mode, is the beginning of the end to us.
A Descoberta do Regalo Divino (The discovery of the Divine gift | 2015 | collage on paper | 21 x 29.7 cm | available

Visions of a land that could have been | 2015 | collage on paper | 29.7 x 21 cm | available
This watercolour is inspired by the paintings of Frans Post, the first European artist to paint in the Americas after travelling to Brazil in 1636. He described various aspects of Brazilian life and his experiences in South America ‘defined’ the representation of the country. I was also inspired by the readings of the magazine Arte no Brasil of 1979.

I wanted to portray a bucolic, almost ethereal scene - showing the first buildings and the untouched nature around. At the time I created this work, my greatest motivation was to praise the natural wealth of Brazil in an attempt to explore the country's positive characteristics. However, even knowing the colonial past of Brazil, it was only in 2015 that I began to criticize more avidly this aspect of the country's cultural formation.

At the bottom of this drawing we see some figures drawn only in pencil, they represent people who were violently brought from various parts of Africa and slaved by the Europeans. These individuals are portrayed in this way, almost incomplete, as a mention of the marginalization of certain subjects in Brazilian society. Visions of a land that could have been talks also about desolation and loneliness, feelings that are still very much present in a society that still feels the pains that our ancestors suffered.

This collage was made whilst on my first visit to the capital of Brazil, Brasilia, in 2015. The discomfort caused by the mirroring of the Congresso Nacional in the Esplanada dos Ministerios alludes to the unbalanced political scenario of Brazil. The famous building, planned by Oscar Niemeyer, became a symbol of the distrust in politics and also of the systematic corruption in the country.

This collage was created a few years ago before I had a more critical approach to my work, yet this piece intends to start the difficult conversation regarding the invasion of Brazil and how it still affects us in the present. In this piece, I talk about the erasure of female narratives, especially of black women in the Brazilian context and as well as alluding to the stereotypisation of indigenous and our lack of understanding regarding other subjectivities and cultures that also encompass the rich Brazilian identity quilt.

In this work, there is a desire to promote a sociopolitical space that is inclusive and representative of the Brazilian complexity, so that important discussion can take place and be perceived as key in the development of individuals and the country itself.

Ocupação (Occupation) | 2015 | collage on paper | 21 x 29.7 cm | available

Escapismo | 2015 | collage on paper | 21 x 29.7 cm | available

Escapism can be understood as a desire for evasion of reality or the obligations that we think are unpleasant, meaning, a will to move from a certain situation in which we find ourselves. The image shows a child with a worried semblant being carried by another child.

They are surrounded by 'tally marks' or 'prison wall stick line counter’. This way of recording passage of time, is very much associated with prisons or situation in which a person is abducted. Only the sight of the room after the prisoner is gone, is enough to know if someone was stuck there for a long time.

This analogy concerns the condition of forced migration, whether by war situation, social or political issues, which encompasses a traumatic process for those who see themselves in this situation. We can also make a parallel with the idea of 'dead time' which is the feeling of having to wait for something, either a document, visa, etc. which is also described as a time that is plentiful but yet
useless, visible, but out of reach. The history of immigration is narrated as a de-subjectivation of individuals.

O Gigante Notável (The Remarkable Giant) | 2013 | ink on paper | 29.7 x 42 cm | available

This work is completely inspired by Brazil and its immeasurable natural wealth, this was made in 2013 and is such a naive approach to portraying my country, yet it is important and it is part of who I am today. I wanted to talk about Brazil but back then, the way I found to celebrate my heritage was by exploring its nature. Therefore, The Remarkable Giant features symbols of renewal and prosperity, which relates to the projected economic growth and general expectations about how Brazil would handle this new reality. The work is essentially a tribute to the Brazilian flora and fauna, and its natural wealth.

In this piece we see a woman with beautiful and generous curves, which gushes life from her crock pot. The stripes appear to organize the work and have hidden meaning. During the Middle Ages, stripes were associated with the marginalized, such as prostitutes, prisoners and labour workers, as described in the book The Devil's Cloth by Michel Pastoureau. The Devil's Cloth is a study about stripes and offers a unique and engaging perspective on the evolution of fashion and visual codes in Western culture. This simple detail is a reminder of the true social situation of the country; they have negative connotations, acting like barriers in this work.

Coming from the vase, we see a tree supporting a nest full of eggs. The egg contains the germ, they are the fruit of life that represent birth, rebirth, renewal and cyclic creation – hope in a bleak future. The flowers symbolize our vast forests - Brazil has the most diverse flora in the world, with more than 55 000 species of plants - our biodiversity is one of the most important parts of our national identity.


PINDORAMA EXISTE E RESISTE. All rights reserved to Sabrina Collares, 2021.