Global Narratives of Southern Peoples

September 03- October 30


René Tavares (ST, 1983) approaches Creole identity, the result of deep research into the dynamics of migration, the central theme of his work, through a need to search for an African identity in a colonized time by the Portuguese. At the same time as an affirmation of the mestizo reality itself, the artist is interested in deepening the influence of the boundaries between histories, languages and techniques and sharing this exploratory journey.

Based on the Tchiloli, or the Tragedy of the Marquis of Mantua and the Emperor Charlemagne, a reference play (theater) in São Tomé and Príncipe, portraying an intense drama of love and death, and introduced in the 17th century by the Portuguese colonizers and adapted at the time by slaves - "servants" - to claim their own colonization, Tchiloli became a provocative means of communication, of manifestation against the Portuguese regime. After its prohibition, like most other African manifestations at the time, Tchiloli became a symbol of resistance and is now a unique art of expression, which best identifies the culture and identity creation of the São Tomense people.

This dramatic representation also marks an important moment in São Tomense art, when the representation of the islands' folklore was the motivation for artistic production by the first plastic artists considered "sons of the land”.

Through painting, photography, and sculpture, René Tavares has taken to translating into traces, lines, and stains a personal synthesis of his own identity, in a process in continuous development, positioning himself in constant movement between the references of the past and present, but also envisioning the future of culture and its identity.

The present exhibition gathers a very rich set of works by the artist, a result of this continued and thorough study and research, where the signs of this memory demonstrate that the distance that separates the two continents is not an impediment to show a common point, which are the African values of their culture. Tales, or collective stories that define their miscegenation and their legacy as heritage are a bridge between the culture of who colonized them and, at the same time, while not excluding their most distinctive qualities, show their true identity.

Paulo Nunes