The art that arises from the people – evincing the human

Ricardo Amadasi

Visual artist and researcher of popular art. Curator of MAP – Museu de Arte Popular de Diadema

Today, the challenge for culture is to rethink values. To make reflections possible. To release the brake on human development. Brazilian culture has resulted from the blending of different peoples who introduced their habits and customs, creating a new hybrid social fabric in constant transformation. Brazil is an apt place for multiplicities, pluralities constructed by different social groups at different historical moments.

This vast wellspring of crossings and approximations, some symbiotic, others not, is manifested as a reflex in human shared experience, constructing the mosaic of our country’s cultural identity. An identity that is nothing more than a combination of beliefs and symbolic representations that give meaning to the concept of citizenship.

In the current contemporary world, called postmodern, the abyss of contradictions and conflicts is intensified with each passing day. The various attempts to impose hegemonic forms on human behavior are being contested all over the planet. Intolerance prevails, giving rise to fragmentations in the conceptual and ideological fabric, a precious collection of the history of humanity and its dreams, trampling its collective principles, cultural pluralism and diversity, and thereby stifling the concept of multiple identities and their varied processes of construction. There arises a single truth in an increasingly globalized world: the market. A Persian market that mixes symbolic values with values of merchandise. A market of ideas, a market of products, a market of faith, bringing about a change in the human psyche, with the banalization of evil and violence, and the normalization of pathologies.

There exists today a central form of culture, and the others must resist. Privileged forms, cultures distant and alienated from the needs of shared experience of the people are presented as expressions of truth, as the only demonstration of our moment of historical transition, seeking to determine what we are. In an apparent no-man’s-land, full of voids and perplexities, everything can be filled in. Where anything goes and nothing has value, there arises a surreal gallery of characters offering redemption and salvation, reactivating various religious fundamentalisms. Flowering in this enormous and complex universe, we find the simplicity of independent artists who are also independent of any merchandising desire, who believe in art as a behavior and as an element for transformation.

The reflection, the thought, originates in the gaze. The more intense the education of the gaze, and how to gaze, the truer will be our comprehension of the reality that surrounds us. If it is really true that art acts in the realm of emotion, stimulating the senses and enlarging sensitivity, this sensitivity allows us to interrogate and question the type of society we are constructing and living in today.

A poetic revision of Brazilian history becomes necessary. All the forms of singing and telling the different realities by way of the most diverse narratives constitute an inexhaustible field of research for those who really desire to approach the soul of the people. Art is made of imagination, and the life of the people is made of dreams. A careful gaze at our surroundings allows us to verify that these symbolic contents present in the collective unconscious are everywhere, mobilizing the spirits and moving the people.

The signs that arise from the art that arises from the people bring us closer to life, and invite us for an exercise of interpretations without limits, like the human imagination itself: always changing and surprising.

The spontaneous Brazilian culture is one of the most important manifestations of our time. The visual and imaginative universe that arises from the people evinces how the people think and feel. A people who do not want to make war among themselves, nor to take part in the disputes for supremacy of power is a people whose members live and coexist with each other in the day-to-day experience of differences, believing in human respect, in respect for the other who is different from us though drinking at the same fountain of the popular imaginary with its inexhaustible wisdom.

The art from popular origins is the always renewed representation of the affirmation of life. Of a life that is manifested by way of intense colors and defined forms, in an always spontaneous way. In every lane, on every street corner or anywhere the people come together, there is the manifestation of a feeling of happiness, a taste for the festivals and parties that bring people together, establishing symbolic exchanges in an act of reaffirmation of faith in humanity.

Paradoxically, the artists linked to popular art, for never having obtained a classic or academic training, are fertile ground for the exercise of human sensibility. Free and spontaneous, having intuition as their main tool, they take the vitality and the energy that characterizes them and transform it into a motivation for the creation of new realities, in a process of alchemy and metamorphosis present in the imaginary of the people. Art as a symbolization of the possibility of change and revolution. And if this creative talent were considered as a value for society? Popular art touches the heart. Affirmative beings, endowed with immense courage and toughness, believe in their own dreams, and through their art they resignify their own, often marginalized existence. Art is the imaginative space of adults. The diversified tableau of the Bienal Naïf do Brasil 2010 is transformed into a panoramic mirror of this rich cultural kaleidoscope. A total of 378 participating artists from 22 states. Uneasy, vibrant, dreamers and provokers, and fundamentally great human beings who treat their artwork as they relate with their own lives, with emotion, without violence and in a frank, sincere way. Some of the participating artists choose to express themselves through large scenographic compositions, full of enriching situations; others are impressive for the expansive vitality of their proposals. There are artists who opt for the recollection of times past, seeking a bygone era. Humor is always present in the people’s visual imaginary. And there is the outstanding presence of the artists who establish a more intimate and poetic relation with their work, full of the subtleties, nuances, and landscapes of towns and the countryside.

No unanimity is possible or fertile. The central idea is to underscore the human side of each one of the artists, because it is difficult to judge who is more precise or correct than the others. Because there are no correct or predetermined forms. There are only more sensitive approaches and more poetic relationships.

The beautiful beaches of naïve art, as every sheltering bay, receive the most varied influences of different artistic currents, which bathe and alter their original geography. The arrivals and departures of this coming and going create new and productive dialogs with other visual ways of thinking. Every culture is essentially hybrid and in constant movement, charming us with the beauty of contact with new discoveries, enriching us through contact with new feelings. Art in a pure state does not exist. Why would naïve art be any different?

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