19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_VideoBrasil | Southern Panoramas

Words by Elena Scarpa
October 6, 2015

The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil became established over the years as a diverse, multiple platform devoted to spreading, fostering and reflecting about art productions from the global South, an area comprising Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Oceania and some countries in Europe and Asia. Significant geopolitical changes are taking place, radically redefining the notions of North and South. Nevertheless, one can sense the need to work on behalf of the field of art and culture in regions that have yet to invent new forms of circulation and visibility.

Established in 1983 by Solange Farkas, its chief curator ever since, the Festival became a partnership with Sesc São Paulo in 1992, which enabled its expansion and internationalization. At that point, the Festival’s curating decided to focus on the Geopolitical South, selecting artists from this geopolitical perspective and dealing with its myriad, complex contexts.

The global South and its myriad issues – concerning diasporas, hybrid identities, migration flows and travels, personal accounts, memories, isolation, the social fabric, and insularity – have inspired and set the parameters for the Curatorial Committee to select artworks and art projects, as well as oriented the curating of all of the Festival’s exhibitions, public programs, and publications.

The curators Bernardo José de Souza (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil/ lives and works in Rio de Janeiro), Bitu Cassundé (Ceará, Brazil/lives and works in Fortaleza), João Laia (Lisbon, Portugal/ lives and works in London) and Júlia Rebouças (Sergipe, Brazil/ lives and works in Belo Horizonte) work in this edition under the guidance of Solange Farkas (Bahia, Brazil/ lives and works in São Paulo), general curator of the Festival and director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil, which co-produces the event alongside Sesc São Paulo.

A total of 62 artists and groups from 27 countries are featured in the three exhibitions of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas; five of them are guest artists and 57 were selected via two open calls (for artworks and for projects to be commissioned by the Festival, a new feature of this edition). The guest artists and selected artworks exhibitions happen at Sesc Pompeia, the primary venue of the 19th Festival and of the event’s past few editions. The Galpão VB, Videobrasil’s new venue, presents the commissioned projects show. Besides the exhibitions, the Festival will include film programs, performances, awards ceremony, public programs activities (such as meetings and conversations, a seminar, workshops and mediated actions) and publication launches.

During the same period, the parallel show Those Born For Adventure Don’t Stray From The Path – Artworks from Videobrasil Collection, curated by Videobrasil’s archive and research coordinator Diego Matos, will open. It features a selection of artworks from Videobrasil Collection that echoes the reflections the 19th Festival elicits.

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