Jonathas de Andrade artwork “40 Nego Bom é um Real” featured through Dutch museum project

(Maastricht, Netherlands)

The Bonnafanten Museum has been presenting the BACA (Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art) every two years since 2000. The award is a tribute to a living artist with an exceptional oeuvre and a demonstrable influence on other artists – a real artists’ artist. The BACA 2014 was awarded unanimously to the Brazilian artist Laura Lima by the international selection committee for the 2014 edition.

The committee praised the exceptional quality of Laura‘s work and her great influence on other artists. The expectation that the works will bring about an innovative dialogue with the Bonnefantenmuseum and its collection also played a role in the selection process. The committee is convinced that Laura Lima will develop a groundbreaking exhibition for the Bonnefantenmuseum.

Prompted by the presentation of the BACA Award to the Brazilian artist Laura Lima, the museum is exhibiting the work of two young artists who also originate from Latin America: Jonathas de Andrade (“40 Nego Bom é um Real”) and ex-Van Eyck resident Rodrigo Hernández (“What is the moon?”).

In the work “40 Nego Bom é um Real”, the young Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade tells the story of a sweet. Based on the production process of this nego bom (the name literally means ‘good black’ and has racial connotations), he shows how in the social, political and ideological reality of Brazilian society, difficult issues are preferably ‘forgotten’. His work is based on a variety of historical documentary material.

The installation is inspired by a street vendor promoting his banana sweets at the top of his voice. Like an anthropologist, the artist sketches a fictive sweet factory with forty workers. The work is divided into two parts. Colourful silk prints and paintings on board show people working in apparent harmony on the production of the sweet. The second part consists of pictures of individual workers. The accompanying texts show a less good-humoured picture and expose the false working relationships. Andrade subtly reveals a racism that is deeply rooted in Brazilian culture. Underneath, this plays a big role in social dynamics and power relations that are often based on camaraderie and politeness.

Andrade based his story and visual idiom on an influential book written in 1933 by the Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freire. In “Casa Grande e Senzala” (The Master and the Slave), Freire describes and illustrates the relationships between colonisers, slaves and Indians in the light of the Brazilian melting pot. This theory is still a leading one today, although it is also controversial, as it ‘glosses over’ what in fact is a perverse democracy founded on racism.

“40 Nego Bom é um Real”, installation by Jonathas de Andrade
On view from 25th September through 11th January, 2015
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 5pm.

Bonnafanten Museum
Avenue Ceramique 250
NL-6221 KX Maastricht
NL-6201 BS Maastricht
T:+31 (0)43 3290190

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