marina da glória, rio de janeiro, 13 - 17.9.2023

solo jaime lauriano


At the invitation of curator Ademar Britto, Jaime Lauriano presents a project conceived especially for ArtRio 2023's SOLO program. Running parallel to the artist's exhibition at the Museu de Arte do Rio – MAR, the presentation brings together developments in the research carried out by the artist in recent years, as well as new works.


Jaime Lauriano's poetics revisit the symbols, images, and myths that form Brazilian society's collective visual memory, tensioning them through critical propositions capable of revealing how the colonial structures of the past still reverberate in contemporary necropolitics. The artist addresses the forms of everyday violence that have permeated Brazilian history since its invasion by the Portuguese, focusing with particular perversity on racialized individuals.


The presentation includes two new works from the series Pedras Portuguesas (Portuguese Stones), developed since 2017, in which the artist inscribes the names of former ports of exit for enslaved people, founded by Portugal along the African coast, such as Cachéu and Calabar. Widely used for paving in the Iberian country, and later also exported to Portuguese-speaking countries, the artist uses the Portuguese stones in this way to highlight the centrality of the slave trade in the establishment of colonization. 


The Portuguese stones are also part of Colonization #2. This time, however, they are reproduced in cast brass and placed in a bowl alongside objects from Umbanda and Candomblé, typical manifestations of Afro-Brazilian spirituality. In this way, symbols associated with colonization are transformed and fused with an African tradition, a trope of resistance and power of the descendants of the African diaspora in Brazil.


The new work Primeira Missa, Primeiro Índio Abatido (2023) is an offshoot of a recent series in which the artist, together with his assistants Nina Horikawa and Pablo Vieira, creates re-readings of great historical paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, in an academic and official nature, which represent and idealize facts from Brazilian history.  The painting in question is a reinterpretation of The First Mass in Brazil, painted by Victor Meirelles in 1861. Its original purpose was to create an official image of the event, which originally took place in the 16th century and was eventually chosen as the country's founding act. Jaime Lauriano, however, deliberately alters the scene, starting with the title, which he takes from the lyrics of "Toda Menina Baiana", a song by Gilberto Gil. His alterations seek to remove the strongly idealized character of the scene and add other elements, many of them contemporary, in order to show the problems and implications caused by this historical episode, many of which are still in force today. 


     In the series Nunca foi sorte, sempre foi Exu, conceived specifically for the fair's SOLO program, Lauriano, who throughout his career has been known to work with images that are widely familiar to society, uses elements of an autobiographical nature for the first time. The starting point for this series is a set of photographs produced by the artist's grandfather in the second half of the 1980s, when he recorded the family's daily life, especially the profession of his wife, Lauriano's grandmother, who was a cake maker and was thus in charge of preparing birthday cakes for all the children in the neighborhood, including his own grandson.  


Based on these photographs, Jaime creates a series of drawings made with pemba –chalk used in umbanda terreiros¹– about these moments from his childhood, denoting a kind of personal collective-memory ritual In the artist's words: "I was struck by a cake she made for one of my birthdays, which had a portrait of me drawn on it. Something simple, but which today could be read as a decolonial artistic manifestation".


The work also highlights one of the most perverse facets of racism, which is that it victimizes countless black children and young people. In the case of the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the work will be presented for the first time, recently there have been frequent murders and massacres of black children by the military police. Black childhood is what motivates this new series.


  1. Terreiro - Place where Afro-Brazilian ceremonial services are held