"We would like to begin by expressing our deep gratitude for the opportunity to encounter and respond to artworks by Rouzbeh Akhbari, Kent Chan, Euridice Zaituna Kala, Maren Karlson, Hira Nabi, Marilú Mapengo Námoda, Luis M. S. Santos, Malik Nashad Sharpe (Marikiscrycrycry) and Eve Stainton at the Galeria Municipal do Porto. The Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize is an enriching exhibition showcasing a broad range of approaches from performance to installation,
printmaking, painting, sculpture and moving image, and foregrounding a wide range of
thematic concerns. The present and painful effects of colonialism, coupled with reflections on the climate crisis, are recurring threads explored through personal narratives, bodily
transformation and the reworking of timelines to evoke complex chronologies. As the jury for this prize, it has been an energizing experience to learn more about each artist’s practice
through viewing their works in Porto.
We wish to express our appreciation for the Prize’s focus on supporting artists’ practices by
enabling further research, development and production of new work, and to that end we have been entrusted with selecting three artists to put forward for residencies at: Arquipélago
Centro de Artes Contemporâneas, in São Miguel, Azores; Cove Park, on the West Coast of Scotland; and Pivô Arte e Pesquisa, in São Paulo, Brazil. We have based our selection on what we encountered in the exhibition at the Galeria Municipal do Porto, taking into consideration the artist’s overall trajectory, and knowledge of what each residency site offers. In this regard, we are delighted to announce that:
• Marilú Mapengo Námoda has been awarded a residency at Arquipélago Centro de Artes Contemporâneas;
• Luis M. S. Santos has been awarded a residency at Cove Park;
• Kent Chan has been awarded a residency at Pivô Arte e Pesquisa.
About the awardees:
Marilú Mapengo Námoda’s take on tongue knowledges – and the politics of erasure that have long been operated on the traditional languages from her home country in Mozambique –, left a strong impression on us. Knowing that colonial educational structures all the way to
contemporary systems of education have kept the oppression alive, we believe that such a
work needs to be given more space and attention in order to dig deeper into the ways in which traditional tongues and the knowledges they hold could and should constitute a basis for
learning. Memories of a dog’s tongue welcomes the viewers into a dark room with a mound of soil on which they can watch moving images: a group of women working the land, followed by images of Marilú performing with the ability and disability of her tongue and mouth to just swallow anything that is presented to her; the natural act of choking becomes a political act. The presence of the soil is a reminder for rootedness and groundedness, standing firm against the erasure of the knowledges that sustained the Echuwabo language and Bantu communities for multiple generations prior to the arrival of the foreign oppressors. The scent of the earth,
the contours of the mound, all create a visceral experience in relation to the subject – i.e. the forcible repression of language. Marilú’s work brings us to a state of discomfort. It is triggering for the viewer and is very successful in conveying the performative through
What would it mean to pursue such work in residency at Arquipélago Centro de Artes Contemporâneas, in São Miguel, Azores?
The residency program of Arquipélago puts a strong emphasis on the need for contemporary societies to be in permanent reflection, given the constant changes that people face at
political, geopolitical, economic, financial, social, cultural and technological levels. We believe that this encounter with artist Marilú Mapengo Námoda will contribute to build critical
reflections on the role of artists and art practitioners in the transformation of society.
Arquipélago has developed a set of programs and structures that allow for artists in residence to have the opportunity to connect with the local communities, schools, female and non-binary associations in order to learn and create together.
Luis M. S. Santos’ intriguing and playful three-legged sculptures, Void (2022) and
Fragments of Being #1 (2023), spoke to us immediately of a practice rooted in imaginative and exploratory material investigation. Carved and painted wood, ceramic, iron, straw and straps bind together the found with the carefully crafted, creating configurations that feel part
celebratory, part in conflict - self-assured, yet also in turmoil. In this way they capture some essence of what it means to be alive in this present moment. A lingering disquiet emanates
from Santos’ sculpture, TV Contraption (2022), presented as part of this trio under the title All of this always happens simultaneously. Here, a bowed head hovers over a television monitor, face aglow, while digital animations of itself and its associates scroll by. How is the transfixed human head processing the translation from a three-dimensional sculpture to an animated avatar moving through digital space? Will it ever be able to lift its head from this self-reflexive loop? A work full of pathos and humour, Santos’ group of sculptures cleverly open up a critical
space to reflect on many of the ambiguous and conflicting dilemmas we currently live with. We greatly appreciate the accessibility of Santos’ work and respond to both its material intrigue and conceptual dimension.
With all of the above in mind, we have awarded Luis M. S. Santos the residency at Cove Park on the West Coast of Scotland. Located on a sloping hillside overlooking Loch Long, Cove Park is an international residency centre supporting contemporary art production in all forms and for artists at all stages of their careers. Many well known and well-respected writers, artists,
performers and musicians have used their time at Cove Park to further develop their work in the quiet of their own studios but with the benefit of being surrounded by a community of
fellow practitioners. Opportunities to engage with the dynamic art scene in nearby Glasgow is a potential further benefit, and we hope that the experience of Cove Park can open up
opportunities for Santos’ work to be seen in new contexts.
Kent Chan presents us a future in which the museum is formed by the symbiosis
between archeology, ancestral thought and machines created by humankind. They are simulacres of microclimates in which, body and nature are part of the same system, like a prosthesis. In addition to contemporary debates about traditions, climate and nature Chan’s fictional narratives dialogue with the tropical imagination. These narratives, also hybrid in form, explore the context, politics and aesthetics of heat and warming.
The Warm Fronts & Future Tropics pieces group proposes a fusion between past and future in which technology, humans and nature are a single body, like a cyborg.
Frequently it is said that plants cannot run away, they adapt themselves. Some deepen
their roots hoping for a sunnier time, others disseminate seeds to procreate, extend their branches along the ground to form new roots, while others fly. In the fiction of Future Tropics, these eternal migrants search for new microclimates, wandering endlessly in the ocean
without being able to disembark. A metaphor for the uncertain future. Where are we going to land?
"Having the privilege of landing. We are here, but we are going to another place all the time" (Kent Chan, Future Tropics, 2022) *
Pivô is a cultural space in the center of São Paulo, the second largest city in South
America, located in a specific microclimate within the triangle formed by the streets
Ipiranga, Consolação and São Luiz in the neighborhood of República. At Pivô, we imagine that Kent Chan will certainly be part of the diversity of knowledge about the tropical urban
landscape exchanging with resident artists from different parts, contexts and references of Brazil.
We congratulate all the artists nominated for the Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, and we wish Marilú Mapengo Námoda, Luis M.S. Santos and Kent Chan all the success on their residencies."