Archaeologists of Affection – cur. Renata Felinto

Archaeologists of Affection

Unearthing affection: technology for living the present well

“I put on paper women’s aspirations in the affective field so that the world can see them, recognize them and reflect on them. If women themselves do not cry out when something gives them bitterness the way they think and feel, no one will do it the way they wish”
Paulina Chiziane, in I woman… for a new vision of the world

Archaeologists of Affection, which Galeria Bruno Múrias now presents, is the proposition of politics of affection as a strategy to the colonial practices that structure relationships in the West.
It is based on a perspective of rescuing ancestral epistemologies of healing, relationships and spirituality shared by Afro-diasporic peoples, as an artistic and critical alternative to the model of life founded by modernity.
Strengthening this approach to art are the creations of the Afro-Brazilian artists Erica Malunguinho, Hariel Revignet, Kika Carvalho, Mariana Rodrigues and Rosana Paulino.  From painting on canvas to photo-performances, they excavate the birth processes of works created not from the reiteration of the bitterness of oppression, but from the strengthening of resistance organized in the sweetness of sisterhood.
Erica Malunguinho presents works from the series I swallowed knives, birthed paths or Where you want pain I am revolution, which materialize her responses to the violence against her intersectional condition, transfigured into aesthetic and conceptual exercises. Between the polarities of the knife that cuts and the flower that has been injured, she brings a serum to corporeal, emotional and mental sickness.
In order to ease illnesses as well, Hariel Revignet investigates the epistemologies of the ancients about the wisdom that heals, present in the properties of rue, rosemary and lavender that make up the polyptych Ancestral Technology: Affection of Herbs.
Kika Carvalho, in the series Encounters, portrays black Brazilian artists, such as the great lady of dramaturgy Ruth de Souza (1921-2019). She pays homage to their trailblazing achievements in the arts and announces their elevation to the status of ancestors. The choice of ultramarine blue relates to the scarcity of this pigment in the pre-industrial era, in approximation to the sparse presence of people like her in the artistic field. Finally, it is also an allusion to the coastal landscape of her hometown.
The potentialities of the feminine, of colour and of abstraction are also presented in the paintings of Mariana Rodrigues, who develops her production from the expressive freedom that connects her to other layers of the spiritual realm.
Finally, Rosana Paulino presents three works. Two series of drawings, Búfala and Lady of Plants, which deal with youth and maturity as moments of women’s development; and the video-performance Grandmothers, which revisits the vast Brazilian iconography of 19th century photographs and pays tribute to portraits of enslaved women who could be grandmothers, great-grandmothers, great-great-grandmothers of any black Brazilian person.
All these visual artists, in their different ages, skins and subjectivities, puncture the rigid lands of the conception of what art is from a single procedure conceived by the Western canon. With the various languages, materialities, concepts and poetics activated, several visualities of recognition and reverence for their lineages are provided, as well as revisions of historicities that connect us to affection as an archaeological wealth that is the right of all, essential for us to live the present.

Renata Felinto
Lisbon, November 2021

  • Rosana Paulino
  • Hariel Revignet
  • Mariana Rodrigues
  • Kika Carvalho
  • Erica Malunguinho