31 January - 16 March 2019
A IMAGEM DA VERDADE (the image of truth)

"Não sou escravo de nenhum senhor / Meu paraíso é meu bastião /
Meu Tuiuti, o quilombo da favela / É sentinela da libertação".
Meu Deus, está extinta a escravidão?

G.R.E.S. Paraíso do Tuiuti, 2018

The work of Josafá Neves reveals the power of images obliterated by the official colonizing and patriarchal discourse. Here there is no room for accommodation and for conciliatory speeches that aim creating a false idea of racial harmony and integration in a country largely made up of mestizos, children of black male rape - which continues to marginalize and undermine the enormous contribution African-American art culture. The
history of Brazilian official art is the portrait of this faded image, of this silence that ignores the African contribution to valuing only the European presence, its movements, its strategies of articulation of power and domination. Even in modernism, in its egalitarian and transformative proposal, the presence of great black artists was justified through critical discourses that mistakenly allied such artists with European constructive
movements, deliberately forgetting the essential primeval geometry present in totems, rites, masks, on the logs, on the bodies.

The exhibition presented by the artist brings together works of remarkable visual power, in which images resulting from religious syncretism build the Brazilian mystical imagination, as in the case of Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, patron saint of Brazil, affirming its blackness, and alluding to the saga of violence. Against black women in the country, from the gagged slave Anastasia to Marielle Franco, a black woman murdered for defending freedom and democracy. Until when? This is the cry that the of Josafa canvases that expresses: how long will this country insist on not admitting the violence that underlies our history and justifying the tragedy of a people who do not recognize themselves in the mirror?

However, we must fight, we must resist, we must reveal. Josafá embraces this commitment, "Every artist must go where the people are”; and thus creates populated images of beauty and suffering, reality and mystery, fear and enchantment.

Painting is, in this case, a powerful tool of discourse and it is justified by its context of struggle and participation, by its truth, by the strength of its idea that form and color construct in a determinant way. Visceral art brings together works of force rarely seen in the well-behaved commercial circuit of the arts. The artist opted for the English title in order to disregard nationalisms and to accentuate the international character of denunciation of race violence committed in Brazil. They are worked directly, creating a pictorial epidermis of strongly graphic content and are themselves the result of distinct sources of inspiration, accentuating their mestizo and multicultural character, as they dialogue with the German expressionist graphic and African body painting, traditional practice of celebration and ethnic and cultural identification. At the moment when, despite the regrets, the black voice is projected on the cultural scene with prominent institutional actions and with the existence, for the first time in our history, of a powerful segment of black artists recognized by the contemporary artistic circuit, the presence, among them, Josafá Neves reaffirms the commitment to build a true and courageous national aesthetic, which assumes our inequalities and prejudices in order to overcome them so that we can create a country that offers all its inhabitants full citizenship and equality and opportunities.
Marcus de Lontra Costa
São Paulo, janeiro de 2019.