Josafá Neves


Born in Brasilia, 1971. Live and works in Brasilia – DF.

Probably no artist in Brazil has expressed through painting the affirmation of the black and his truest existence. Sensed on the flesh and the soul Josafá Neves approaches the theme of Afro-Brazilian culture through a cunning and genuine interpretation, transforming it into a permanent and disturbing reality. The practice of painting for the artist is of undeniable and effective value. Its black color reaches the most intimate emotions of the spectators in their 20 years of full dedication to the craft of the arts. In Josafá, artistic activity is motivated by the habitual exercise of painting in its unprecedented sense. It is in the real of routine work, in his constant presence in front of the canvases, that the artist projects his concrete, shrewd and uncompromising reading of existence.

The solid portrayal of Josafá Neves in this show decomposes his own painting system when embarking on a multiplicity of directions. The verisimilitude proper of the genre “portrait” has its outline taken from master images of the portrayed personalities, but they are also records of the artist’s memory in its unique relation with each character of the diaspora. With vibrant colors and unparalleled traits, developed throughout his self-taught learning, the artist exposes a plastic look of his appropriate observations, including the instant he paints.

The ability of Jehoshaphat to seek the deepest feelings of those who appreciate his work makes him go through many techniques in his artistic practice. Thus, in this sample, there are two dry-point engravings that symbolize historical figures of the diaspora, namely: Grande Otelo and Luiz Gama, who were obsessively fabricated in the most intimate sensibility, mixed with the restless energy of the artist.

The strength of the artist’s painting, in this sample, continues in two panels that express the intangible heritage of black culture in Brazil. The work “Capoeira” brings this cultural expression that was developed from the arrival of the Bantu in the merciless context of slavery. In this work, the artist expresses a determined dignity of capoeira by conglomerating complex strokes and movements, characteristic of this martial art, in a feral painting, accurate and full of enchantments. The painting “Terreiro de Candomblé”, a re-reading of Carybé’s “Festa do Pão de Oxalá” canvas, manifests the complex and multiple ritual of an Afro-Brazilian cult in an amalgam of vigorous and vivid images.This work of artist Josafá Neves is poetry, it’s politics, it’s authentic Brazilian art. Poetry that “flies off the wing”, as Manoel de Barros says. Jehoshaphat Neves always flew out of the wings, in his apprentice solitude, has been building an indomitable, sincere and determined art. It is politics because it is freedom, plurality, difference and equality. It is an art with immense expression of a subjectivity created in the daily toil of an Afrodescendant Brazilian.

Lêda Gonçalves de Freitas (adapted).