It was in the mid-1990s that the urgent junction between art and politics gained one of its most important spaces in the context of world exhibitions. Born within the Videobrasil Festival with the aim of including artists with difficult access to the circuit mainstream, the curatorial proposal southern panoramas established itself as a showcase for creators who were engaged in the context of multicultural and geopolitical tensions, with video as the main poetic tool. “The focus is emerging southern thinking. A political geography whose power is amplified by the discourse of artists who traditionally are in regions with little insertion”, explains Solange Farkas, curator and creator of the Videobrasil Festival.
In this 18a edition, when the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary, it is impossible to go unnoticed the production of some women who open their worldviews in a scenario of concerns, which are typical of this axis of the show. The works of the Afghan Jeanno Gaussi and the Iranian Bita Razavi are two examples. Jeanno left his hometown of Kabul when he was still a child, fleeing a civil war that started in 1987 as a result of the Soviet occupation of the country. In 2007, after 20 years, the artist returned to the Afghan capital to carry out the work Kabul Fragments, a series of four works in different media that address his expatriation and the results of the recent war against the US in the country.
Living in Berlin, Jeanno presented the series at the last Documenta in Kassel, in 2012, and now brings the last part to Brazil, Kabul Fragments 4, which features 20 photographs by an Afghan street artist. “In July 2011, I was visiting the Kabul Zoo for the first time in my life. I saw a man dressed in military clothes and offering to take pictures of visitors in fake war scenarios. So, I asked him if he would accept to exhibit his work and he sold me the images”, says Jeanno in an email interview with the magazine ARTE!Brasileiros.
The Iranian artist Bita Razavi presents the video Bosphorus: the Trilogy, which apparently shows scenes of couples on a boat trip through the Bosphorus Strait, the canal located in Istanbul that connects Asia to Europe. The work shown on Videobrasil is not the original. “When I tried to return to Iran in 2012, the Islamic police seized almost all the material that would make up this video. So, what is being shown is a fragment of the material together with a part re-shot by a friend who was in Istanbul”, says Bita, who like Jeanno lives in exile in Helsinki, Finland.
Historically, the Festival has always highlighted the geopolitical problem through the production of women artists from the Islamic world, a constant that is renewed in this latest edition. In the video library available at SESC Pompeia, the public can access other important works from this context and shown in previous editions, such as Shameless Transmissions of Desired Transformations per Day, made in 2000 by the Lebanese Mahmoud Hojeij, where the artist shows three women staging issues related to sexual freedom on the streets of the city of Beirut, and panoramic view, 2006, by French-Moroccan Bouchra Khalili, whose video addresses the issue of illegal immigration in a long shot of the Strait of Gibraltar from Tangier, a city in Morocco. “We always wanted to highlight female production that was far from the circuit. Artists like these raise questions that end up going far beyond cultural or political conflict, as the female presence has not yet reached a balance of equality in the art world. At the Festival, we tried to observe this issue as well”, observes Farkas, who, together with a commission of curators, selected 94 artists, among more than XNUMX entries from six continents, most of them women.