OPAVIVARÁ! A Gentil Carioca
OPAVIVARÁ!, Transnomads, A Gentil Carioca
OPAVIVARÁ! is an artist’s collective that hosts public actions in galleries, cultural institutions, and public spaces, predominantly in and around Rio de Janeiro. They utilize urban space for a renewal of communal bonding—their audience has the opportunity to savor the communal constructs they are a part of while surrendering to the innate silliness of the collective’s actions. OPAVIVARÁ! are advocates for constructive creation bringing communities closer together, and have been known to initiate parades, outposts for meals and conversation, and plots of beach chairs around the city for lectures and performances.
OPAVIVARÁ! have been featured in exhibitions at institutions including Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Museu de Arte do Rio, and Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aires, among other Brazilian galleries. The collective participated in the Taipei Biennial in 2014 and the Havana Biennial in 2015. In both 2011 and 2013 they were nominated for the PIPA (Premio Investor Professional de Arte) prize.
The collective of artists from Rio de Janeiro reinterpreted everyday objects, changing images and social perceptions. Transnomads is an offshoot of the 2009 project Eu ♥ camelô and reflects on the way of life and work of nomadic street vendors in the urban context. This time, the objective was to transform the carts used by street vendors into furniture that they could use in their leisure time: a bed or a library, for example.
Lin May Saeed Nicolas Krupp and Jacky Strenz
Lin May Saeed, The Liberation of Animals from their Cages IXX, 2016, Nicolas Krupp, Jacky Strenz
Lin May Saeed (b. 1973) is as much an animal rights advocate as an artist. Despite the progressive perspectives put forth by scholars like Donna Haraway in her book Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (2003), empathy with animals remains rare in art. When Pierre Huyghe uses dogs and monkeys as performers in his exhibitions, the animals’ welfare is not the central issue. As a society, we rely on animals but are largely—often willfully—ignorant of them as fellow creatures. Saeed approaches the subject with endearing and persuasive lightness, perhaps to keep us from turning away from the discomfort it can create.
The figuration is spare and the palette reduced, producing an airy and diagrammatic image. The enslavement of animals is depicted as equivalent to that of humans, and one infers that the abolition of both is necessary for an enlightened society. Saeed’s use of “poor” materials like cardboard, cheap wood, and aluminum foil in many of the sculptures reinforces the deliberately innocent mood of her tableaux, as if she wants her message to sneak in under the radar. The works have cross-cultural resonance, underlining common histories of humans interacting with animals and opening the door for our interspecies narratives to evolve.