• Akram Zaatari

    Akram Zaatari

  • Moacir dos Anjos

    Moacir dos Anjos

Beyond the world of Akram

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posted on 09/05/2016
A course, workshops, meetings, and a book launch will be a part of the public programs of the exhibition Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, as artists and researchers pore over the issues dealt with in Akram Zaatari’s work

Up until December 3rd, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and Associação Cultural Videobrasil will present, at Galpão VB, the Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s first solo exhibit in Brazil. Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright marks a collaboration that goes back exactly twenty years between the artist and the association. A series of activities and public programs will happen throughout the show, with artists, curators, and researchers setting out to explore the connections and overlapping aspects between Zaatari’s work, and the work of various Brazilian artists.

History, documentation, photographic practices, desire, labor, and human relations are some of the key topics in Zaatari’s art, which spans film, photography, text and other formats. His work deals with watershed historical events that he was a part of, and as such it can be interpreted as an eyewitness account of contemporary Lebanese history. The artworks themselves explore love—or the loss thereof—, self-representation, the covering and uncovering of the body, the transient nature of desire, and the real-time manifestation of those in the form of seduction, pride, and misogyny, set against the backdrop of a mutating communication technology, the internet. His art prompts us to observe the workings of human relationships, intimacy among men, and same-sex relationships in an Arab context. Zaatari’s work allows the social to describe the urban, memory to occupy desire, and desire to write history.

September 5 (Monday), 8 p.m. will see the first Public Programs activity. “Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright” is an eponymous conversation hosted by researcher and curator Moacir dos Anjos with Akram Zaatari, about the artworks featured at Galpão. On Thursdays from October on, professor Michel Sleiman of USP’s Department of Oriental Languages will teach the course “Fictions and Truths in Post-War Lebanon Narratives,” covering current Lebanese literature, essays, and art. See more on how to register below. On October 15th, the architect, artist, and designer Carla Caffé will teach a workshop on investigative drawing, “CEAGESP, from Streets to Characters,” proposing an exploration of the Vila Leopoldina district, with an emphasis on the area of wholesale produce market Centro de Abastecimento—a territory that well embodies the discussion of the gentrification process going on in the area, and based on questions posed by the work of Akram Zaatari.

On November 5th at 3 p.m., filmmaker Carlos Nader, researcher Eduardo de Jesus, and Solange Farkas, director of Videobrasil and curator of the Zaatari show, will sit down for a meeting to mark the launch of Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, a compilation of critical essays about the works of Akram Zaatari, and the first reference book on the artist ever in Brazil. Finally, on November 19th and 26th, the “Workshop on Vulnerability and Alterity” will be led by artist Gui Mohallem, whose work, just like Zaatari’s, extrapolates personal experiences into the realm of alterity. Those attending the workshop will be encouraged to share their innermost issues in hands-on exercises.

Learn more about each of the public programs’ activities:

1. Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright
Ft. Akram Zaatari & Moacir dos Anjos

Date: September 5, Monday, 8pm
Free admission

A conversation with Akram Zaatari, hosted by researcher and curator Moacir dos Anjos, on the artist’s poetics, focusing on the works being shown in Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright.

Akram Zaatari  
Akram Zaatari has made over forty videos, released a dozen books, and created numerous photography installations, always dealing with practices, characters and subjects related to excavation, political resistance, the life of former leftwing militants, intimacy among men, and the circulation of images in times of war. Zaatari played a key role in shaping the formal, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure behind the Beirut contemporary art scene. He was one of a few young artists to come up during the short-lived bout of experimentation of the Lebanese TV industry, before its radical rearrangement in the aftermath of civil war. A co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, a groundbreaking artist-led organization devoted to researching and studying photography throughout the region, the ever-uncompromising Zaatari made great contributions to the broader discourse on conservation and archival practices. Since 2004, the focus of his studies has been the archives of Studio Shehrazade, founded by photographer Hashem el Madani. Zaatari represented Lebanon in the 2013 Venice Biennale, and his work was featured in Documenta 13 (2012), the Istanbul Biennial (2011), and the São Paulo Art Biennial (2006). Some of his work is in the collections of Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Kadist, MoMA, and MCA Chicago. He lives and works out of Beirut, Lebanon.

Moacir dos Anjos
Moacir dos Anjos (Recife, Brazil, 1963) is a contemporary art researcher and curator with Recife’s Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, formerly the director of the Aloísio Magalhães Museum of Modern Art – MAMAM (2001–2006) and visiting fellow at the London research center TrAIN – Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (2008–2009). He curated the São Paulo Art Biennial (2010) and the exhibits Cães sem Plumas (MAMAM, 2014), and A Queda do Céu (Paço das Artes, 2015). Moacir dos Anjos is the author of the books Local/global – arte em trânsito (Zahar, 2005) and Arte Bra Crítica (WMF Martins Fontes, 2010), and the editor of Caderno Videobrasil 8: Belong (2013). 

2. Course Fictions and truths in Post-War Lebanon narratives
Ft. Michel Sleiman

Dates: on Thursdays in October (6th, 13th, 20th and 27th)
Hours: 8pm to 10:30pm

Taught by Michel Sleiman, a professor at the USP’s Department of Oriental Languages, the course Fictions and truths in Post-War Lebanon narratives deals with current Lebanese literature, essays and art. Poets, novelists, photographers, artists and curators build a discourse of retrieval of the recent memory and history of a country that was ravaged by a bloody civil war (1975–1990) and which was never disconnected from the broader Middle East issues. Over the course of four meetings, the course will cover topics including “freedom and human rights,” “religiosity and secularity,” “truth and fiction,” and “discourses and gender boundaries.”

Target audience: researchers, curators, educators, artists, students and other interested parties
Number of seats: 15
Workload: 4 meetings, 10 hours total.
Cost and payment methods: one-time payment of BRL 150.00 (direct deposit/wire transfer)*
Find out more and enroll: cursos@videobrasil.org.br or (55 11) 3645-0516

*Dropping out midcourse or failing to attend will not exempt enrollees from payment in consideration for the services being made available to them

Michel Sleiman
Michel Sleiman was born 1963 in Santa Rosa-RS, Brazil, and graduated in Languages in Santa Maria (UFSM) and Porto Alegre (UFRGS). He pursued Arabic studies in Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo. He completed his postgraduate studies at USP, where he currently teaches Arabic Language and Literature at the Department of Oriental Languages, and in postgraduate programs in Arabic Studies and Translation Studies. His research into Andalusian poetry written in the local Arabic and Romance dialects of Al-Andalus was published in A Poesia Árabe-Andaluza: Ibn Quzman de Córdova (Perspectiva, 2000) and A Arte do Zajal: ensaio de poética árabe (Ateliê, 2008). He has translated Quranic Surahs and poems by Palestine’s Mahmoud Darwich, Syria’s Adonis, and Lebanon’s Unsi El-Hajj into Portuguese, and poems by Brazil’s Waly Salomão and Haroldo de Campos into Arabic. He is the founder and director of Revista Tiraz, a magazine focusing on studies in Arabic and Middle East cultures (USP Department of Oriental Languages). He coordinates the Contemporary Arab Poetry Translation Group at the USP. Michel Sleiman served stints as president of the Institute of Arab Culture, in São Paulo, from 2009 to 2012, and as curator of the annual show Diwan de Literatura e Arte from 2005 to 2008. His poems have been published in the magazines Coyote, Zunái, Poesia Sempre, and Granta, and in the book Ínula Niúla (Ateliê, 2009).

3. Drawing workshop: CEAGESP, from streets to characters
Ft. Carla Caffé

Date: October 15, Saturday, 11am to 2:30pm

This investigative drawing workshop proposes an exploration of the Vila Leopoldina district, with an emphasis on the area of wholesale produce market CEAGESP – a territory that well embodies the discussion of the gentrification process going on in the area, and visibly impacting its urban and human landscapes. Based on questions posed by the work of Akram Zaatari, and relying on a map created by artist Carla Caffé, participants will be encouraged to document the journey from Galpão VB to CEAGESP, while accounting not only for the physical features of the urban space, but also for the interpersonal relationships taking place therein.

Target audience: artists, architects, designers, illustrators and students thereof (17 or older)
Number of seats: 20 (first-come, first-served)
Workload: 3h30
Cost: free of charge
How to attend: enrollment on first-come, first-served basis as long as seats are available, from 10:30am to 11am.

Carla Caffé
An architect working with illustration, graphic design, art, theater, and film. Her work has been featured in major group exhibits, including the IV and X São Paulo International Architecture Biennial. Her art focuses on research into the cartography of São Paulo. Her latest exhibition was at the Carbono gallery. She was the art director of feature films including Central Station (Walter Salles) and The Storytellers (Eliane Caffé). She is currently art-directing and developing the full visual identity of Era o Hotel Cambridge, slated for release in 2017. Carla Caffé is the author of the artist’s book A(e)rea Paulista, out on Galeria Vermelho, Av. Paulista, released by publishers Cosac Naify and SESC Edições, and São Paulo na linha, published by DBA. She is currently a professor of drawing at the Architecture and Urban Design School Escola da Cidade, and in SESC Pompeia workshops.

4. Book launch Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright
Ft. Carlos Nader, Eduardo de Jesus and Solange Farkas

Date: November 5, Saturday, 3pm
Free admission

Marking the launch of the exhibition book Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, on the eponymous exhibition by the Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari, a three-pronged conversation on Lebanese presence in Brazilian art and the Brazilian art scene, focusing on the artistic, curatorial-institutional, and academic perspectives.

Carlos Nader
Experimenting and cross-pollinating languages from video art to documentary, Nader is an author with a strong essayistic bent. Concerned with the complexity of contemporary Brazilian culture and its expression in the media, he strives to investigate certain characters – anonymous people, celebrities, and artists – for widely varied hints of urban identities. Documentary in nature, Beijoqueiro (1992) was one of Brazil’s most iconic 1990s videos, its production embodying shared features of its generation. Next, he made the films Trovoada (1995), winner of the 1998 Videokunstpreis, O Fim da Viagem (1996), and Carlos Nader (1998), winner of the 2000 Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. In the latter, he deconstructs the concept of autobiography by mixing his own image with statements from transvestites, philosophers, poets, and criminals. Throughout the 2000s, Nader did most of his work outside Brazil, directing documentaries and creating video installations for local culture centers, and taking part in various festivals and group exhibitions. He made several other films, including Concepção (2001), Flor da Pele (2002), Cross (2003), RBS: 50 anos da televisão no Brasil (2007), Pan-Cinema Permanente (2008), Chelpa Ferro (2009), from the Videobrasil Authors Collection series, and Eduardo Coutinho – 7 de outubro (2013). He recently won back-to-back prizes for Best Brazilian Feature Documentary in the two latest editions of the It’s All True Festival, for Homem Comum (2014) and A Paixão de JL (2015), the latter of which also won a prize at the 37th Havana Film Festival in 2016. Early on in his career, he was editor of the magazines Caos, from 1987 to 1989, and Circuit, in 1990. Carlos Nader lives and works in São Paulo.

Eduardo de Jesus
Holds a degree in social communication from PUC Minas, a master’s in communication from UFMG, and a doctorate in arts from ECA-USP. He is a professor in the postgraduate program in Communication of the School of Communication and Arts at PUC Minas. Eduardo de Jesus was involved in several Videobrasil Festival editions and Associação Cultural Videobrasil projects. He has curated exhibits including the FIF – Festival Internacional de Fotografia (Belo Horizonte, 2013 and2015), esses espaços (Belo Horizonte, 2010), Densidade Local, co-curated with Gunalan Nadarajan, for the Transitio-MX Festival (Mexico City, 2008) and Mostra Fiat Brasil (2006). He publishes texts, essays, and reviews on contemporary art.

Solange Farkas
Solange Farkas is the curator and director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil. In 1983, she created the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, of which she is chief curator, and which has grown into a landmark event for art from the Global South. Farkas was responsible for bringing exhibitions by Sophie Calle (Take Care of Yourself, 2009), Joseph Beuys (We are the Revolution, 2010), and Isaac Julian (Geopoetics, 2012) to Brazil, the latter of which she also curated. She served as guest curator for the 10th Sharjah Biennial (United Arab Emirates, 2011), the 16th Cerveira Art Biennial (Portugal, 2011), the 5th Videozone: International Video Art Biennial (Israel, 2010), and the 6th Jakarta International Video Festival (Indonesia, 2013), among other events.

Highlights of her 25-year curating career include the Contemporary Southern Hemisphere Videoart, the 9th Ayoul Festival (Beirut, Lebanon, 1999); the Pan African Exhibition of Contemporary Art (Salvador, Brazil, 2005); La Mirada Discreta: Marcel Odenbach & Robert Cahen (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2006); Suspensão e Fluidez (ARCO, Madrid, 2007); and the Contemporary African Art Show (São Paulo, Brazil, 2000), co-curated with Clive Kellner.

In 2003, Farkas invited Akram Zaatari and Christine Tohme to organize the Lebanese art event Possible Narratives as part of the program of the 14th Festival. Including a video showing, an exhibition, and lectures, it paved the way for Lebanese artists to be strongly represented in the Festival.

In 2015, Solange Farkas was invited to join the content committee of UN Live Museum, the United Nations’ Museum for Humanity.

5. Workshop on Vulnerability and Alterity
Ft. Gui Mohallem

The work of Gui Mohallem, just like Akram Zaatari’s, extrapolates personal experiences into the realm of alterity. As they look into the artists’ work, participants will be questioned: what are the scenarios, experiences and developments that can arise from a personal story? Those attending the workshop will be encouraged to share their innermost issues in hands-on exercises.

Dates and program:
The workshop will happen on two dates:
Day 1: November 19, Saturday – 4pm, exhibition tour; from 5pm to 9pm, individual and team activities and discussion of creative process
Day 2: November 26, Saturday – 5pm to 9pm, hands-on activity, assessment of students’ output and discussion of references

Target audience: artists, researchers, educators and students thereof
Number of seats​: 15*
Workload: 9 hours
Cost: free of charge
How to participate: send an email to cursos@videobrasil.org.br with the subject line “Vulnerability and Alterity” by 6pm (BRT) on November 10, 2016, including the following:
1. Duly filled out form (click here to download);
2. Short bio;
3. A text or image that sums up, to you, “what is a state of vulnerability.”

Those selected will be notified directly via email and/or telephone.

*The workshop will be subject to a minimum number of seats being filled

Gui Mohallem
(Itajubá, MG, 1979) Issues of belonging and identity have permeated Gui Mohallem’s work for some time. After a six-week residency in Lebanon awarded by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture’s Cultural Exchange and Diffusion Program in 2012, the artist came into direct contact with aspects of exile, upon which he grew to understand his own origins and some of the identity traits of family members. A Film and Video degree holder from ECA-USP, he had his first solo show in New York City in 2008. In the years that followed, he had showings at MuBE, Sesc Pompeia and the Olido, Babel, Baró Cruz, Luciana Caravello, and Emma Thomas galleries. He has also exhibited in the USA, in Iceland and in Estonia, was involved in Photoespaña’s Descubrimientos program, and in the 18th Sesc_Videobrasil Festival. In 2011, he won second place in the Conrado Wessel prize. He has partaken in art residency programs in São Paulo and in Beirut, Lebanon. He has two books out, Welcome Home (2012) and Tcharafna (2014). He was a speaker at Brazil’s leading photography festivals, and his works are in major collections including Itaú Cultural, Videobrasil, Centro Cultural São Paulo, Luiz Chrysostomo, Nilo Cecco, Fernando Abdalla, Alfredo Setúbal, etc.