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Interview with: Faiá Martins

February 2021

Faiá Martins is native of Curitiba city, Brazil, and started her career in 2016, developing a work in traditional painting inspired by diasporic manifestations in brazilian land, giving special attention to religious syncretism, gypsyism and candomblé, the religion in which she was raised in and iniciated in 2018. Studies Visual Arts at the School of Music and Fine Arts of Paraná and her main expositions was Ubuntu at Memorial de Curitiba (2016), Universitary exhibition at EMBAP (2016 - 2017), LBTs women in the art world at UNESP – Ourinhos (2018), Cubic - Bienal Curitiba International (2019) and Black Awareness Week at UENP – Jacarezinho (2019 - 2020)

I would like to start this interview from the beginning, do you remember which artist or which artwork moved something inside you when you were a child?

-In my early childhood, I was directly influenced by Catholic iconography and Afro-Brazilian sculptures present in candomblés, since I attended both the church and the terreiro. Brazil has this plural ethnic-religious relationship and it reverberated in me, filled my imagination with saints and orishas. Most of these images were unsigned, so there is no specific artist that I can quote unfortunately. But I am happy to think that it was the popular hand that moved and shaped me in this matter.


And then? how have your approach and references changed growing up?

The old references still with me, but I added several others along the way through my initiation in candomblé, in my academic studies and in the contact with other artists. In my work, these references are presented in the compositional choices, the chosen scenarios and sacred adornments as a quote from the works that inspired them, whether literary, visual or liturgical.


How would you describe your practice to someone who doesn't know you? what are the recurring elements, themes, concepts you refer to?

“I play with iconography”, is what I usually answer when asked. As a child who assembles a puzzle, I dismount and assemble these sacred images and just as black and roma deities and entities hid behind white saints, I go against the grain and reveal that behind the “Little Saint Anthony”, Esú lives and dances with us since he arrived in the brazilian lands. The sacred is part of my day-to-day life and I try to express that in every piece I set out to do.


Usually each artist has a different modus operandi, what is yours? how did your projects start and how do they develop?

All my ideas come from my personal experience, be it from the daily or religious order and through them I try to give a physical body the information that bubbles inside my head. I always do a lot of sketches before going to canvas. I usually prefer paint with gouache, oil and acrylic, as they allow me to create levels of reality within the painting. It took me six months a year to complete a piece and during production time, I always try to seek support in other artistic modalities such as literature, theater and dance, as they always offer me a range of other possibilities.


What function do you attribute to your works and why?

I think the art task is to communicate, always. In my work, addressing urgent social issues in my country and broadening the debate is what made it relevant. I’m always giving these pieces the function of discussing institutional racism, misogyny and the role of religion in the society in which we live, as these issues are linked to all instances of human life - including mine.


We are at the end of this short interview, would you like to add something about your research and your art that has not emerged previously?

No, I believe that is essentially it. Thank you.

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