Agridoce (“Bittersweet“) is an exhibition by the South African artist Haroon Gunn-Salie at Galpão VB. The idea for the solo exhibit came about because of the artist’s relation with people who were directly affected by the environmental disaster of last year in Mariana – caused by the collapse of two dams in Minas Gerais State. Created in collaboration with local residents who refused to move away from their land, the project has bred a powerful platform – one that can give visibility to the event and stir public reaction. Thus, Gunn-Salie establishes his art as activism and action for social change.
The show is the outcome of the 1st SP-Arte/Videobrasil Prize, a special award of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas, held from October to December 2015, and will be displayed at Galpão VB until June 11, 2016.
In “Bittersweet”, Haroon Gunn-Salie prompts fresh bewilderment at the events of the disaster. He works with the desire to affirm collective work as a response to real-life tragedies, and insistently symbolizes something that gets lost repeatedly – the experience of those defeated. A large-scale installation, a video, a series of photos and a film were produced by Gunn-Salie in collaboration with locals who had their properties flooded with layers of mud and toxic heavy metals. Death, as well as the destruction of real estate and of the region’s ecosystem are the aftermath of the accident. The artist collected and transported from the accident site all of the material that composes his site-specific work (including the mud and the walls of a partially buried house, for instance). Impregnated with the urgency of the present, this set of artworks showing at Galpão VB strives – amid the silence that acts upon personal experiences and narratives – to retrieve the human dimension of the story.