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Red Atlantic

14 October 2017 - 30 December 2017



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About this event

Red Atlantic is the ocean tinged with blood from the trafficking of slaves.

Inspired by the name of the book by sociologist Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, I think about this sea that links two points, Africa and Brazil, both of which suffered processes of annihilation and subjugation of their populations, while the ideas of science, religion and progress were used to justify the most terrifying abuses.

In order to carry out the pieces in this exhibition, I pored, with a mixture of admiration, curiosity and, often, disgust, at images produced in Brazil depicting the flora, fauna and, in particular, the people, on one same level, like objects to be explored, picturesque elements in an exotic landscape, instead of beings endowed with humanity. This attitude reinforced the idea of a natural right to other lands and peoples, justifying colonialism, not just that exerted in the Americas but, later, through Europe an expansion into Africa. It should be also mentioned that Brazil created part of its identity from a European outlook, fed by images of distant lands. A false, picture postcard world of the imagination, one that conveyed the idea of paradise, but paradise for whom?

The photos used in this work mostly derive from postcards, such as the one presented in the Almanaque Laemmert, in 1866, by Portuguese photographer Christiano Júnior, which highlighted a “Varied collection of (…) examples of blacks, very appropriate for anyone leaving for Europe.” We are a country that formed its image from the outside inwards, from the point of view of what would be deemed “exotic” for Europeans, and which until today has been unable to recognize itself when it looks in the mirror.


Rosana Paulino