Sertão is a word of unknown origin. In the Portuguese language, records of its existence date back to the 15th century. When the colonizers landed here, they brought the term with them, using it to designate the vast territory of the inlands, which was imperceptible from the coast. Since then, various meanings have been assigned to this word, without ever fixing on a settled idea. It is formed of oppositions: it can refer to the forest and to open land, to the desert and to settlements, to that which is close and that which is remote. It describes the visible and the unknown, aridity and the fertility, the uncultured and the cultivated.
Although this term came to Brazil in a caravel ship, this did not stop sertão from rising up against colonialism and escaping its intentions. It preserves its power of invention. It does not surrender to the monopolies of patriarchal knowledge. It demands new social pacts. It de-hierarchizes its relationship with nature, reveres mystery, and celebrates. Sertão is, primarily and above all, experimentation and resistance, fundamental qualities for experiencing art, and which this 36th Panorama of Brazilian Art brings us.
In Brazil, a country that embraced its modernization in the early 20th century, sertão came to refer, above all, to an area in the northeastern region with semiarid climate, represented by the caatinga scrub vegetation, in contrast to the coastline. At that time, the idea of a dry, primitive, crude place was reinforced, propagating another in the imminence of the scourge. As a result, a state of submission was created which justified welfare policies but above all the updating of forms of exploitation. Images of sertão are present throughout Brazilian culture, although none of them can account for all that this may signify.
Opposing determinism, and in the light of a certain production of Brazilian art, Sertão is a way of thinking and acting. An evocative term, it carries with it transformative affects, political forms, ideals of creation, memories of struggle, rituals of healing, and fictions of the future. This sertão-art which is presented here is found in the fluidity of languages. More than a place, sertão is a crossing. It spreads throughout Brazil; it is in the working of the small holding, it prevails in the alleys of the favela; it descends along the riverbed; it is written on the walls of the city and present in the reclaimed land. It manifests itself in meetings and conflicts.
At the 36th Panorama of Brazilian Art, twenty-nine artists and collectives are gathered together to share strategies of resistance and models of experimentation, based on their histories. If, by definition, the sertão is at the limit of what can be apprehended, the notion of panorama is complementary in the form of its contradiction. The importance of bringing together these elements and embracing these oppositions, however, is due to the ever-increasing need to defend non-hegemonic existences and to share other ways of life. As long as art can assert its sertão condition, there will always be struggle, there will always be difference, there will always be the new.
1- Ana Lira (Caruaru - PE, 1977. Vive no Recife)
2- Ana Pi (Belo Horizonte, 1986. Vive em Paris)
3- Ana Vaz (Brasília, 1986. Vive em Lisboa e em Paris)
4- Antonio Obá (Ceilândia - DF, 1983. Vive em Brasília)
5- Coletivo Fulni-ô de Cinema (Águas Belas - PE)
6- Cristiano Lenhardt (Itaara - RS, 1974. Vive em São Lourenço da Mata - PE)
7- Dalton Paula (Brasília, 1982. Vive em Goiânia)
8- Daniel Albuquerque (Rio de Janeiro, 1983. Vive no Rio de Janeiro)
9- Desali (Contagem - MG, 1983. Vive em Contagem - MG)
10- Gabi Bresola & Mariana Berta (Joaçaba - SC, 1992 / Peritiba - SC, 1990. Vivem em Florianópolis)
11- Gê Viana (Santa Luzia - MA, 1986. Vive em São Luís)
12- Gervane de Paula (Cuiabá, 1961. Vive em Cuiabá)
13- Lise Lobato (Belém, 1963. Vive em Belém)
14- Luciana Magno (Belém, 1987. Vive em São Paulo)
15- Mabe Bethônico (Belo Horizonte, 1966. Vive em Genebra e Belo Horizonte)
16- Mariana de Matos (Governador Valadares - MG, 1987. Vive no Recife)
17- Maxim Malhado (Ibicaraí - BA, 1967. Vive em Massarandupió - BA)
18- Maxwell Alexandre (Rio de Janeiro, 1990. Vive no Rio de Janeiro)
19- Michel Zózimo (Santa Maria - RS, 1977. Vive em Porto Alegre)
20- Paul Setúbal (Aparecida de Goiânia - GO, 1987. Vive em São Paulo)
21- Radio Yandê (Rio de Janeiro, 2013)
22- Randolpho Lamonier (Contagem - MG, 1988. Vive em Belo Horizonte)
23- Raphael Escobar (São Paulo, 1987. Vive em São Paulo)
24- Raquel Versieux (Belo Horizonte, 1984. Vive no Crato - CE)
25- Regina Parra (São Paulo, 1984. Vive em São Paulo)
26- Rosa Luz (Gama - DF, 1995. Vive em São Paulo)
27- Santídio Pereira (Curral Comprido - PI, 1996. Vive em São Paulo)
28- Vânia Medeiros (Salvador, 1984. Vive em São Paulo)
29- Vulcânica PokaRopa (Presidente Bernardes - SP, 1993. Vive em Florianópolis)