Navio Negreiro (Slave Ship)

2019

Size: 50cm x 29cm

Ink on Floor Rag

navio negreiro.jpg

Navio Negreiro is the first piece I have produced with the current focus of my practice in mind. I have been exploring Brazilian culture, searching for concealed components of our identity. Through this research I learned that my country is home to the biggest domestic worker population in the world, which amounts to 7 Million. Domestic workers are an integral part of culture here for innumerable reasons. My intention is to investigate the Brazilian Domestic worker’s plight, its nefarious origins and contemporary consequences to Brazilian society. While attempting to be aware and vigilant of my position as observer/employer and fully considering the impenetrable, untraversable power dynamic this relation holds to the participants of it, regardless of it’s capacity to exhibit the most evident familial intimacy.

This is a painting done with Ink on a floor rag, bought from a street vendor. Floor rags are a common household item in Brazil, used by domestic workers. They are a very familiar texture used for cleaning the worst type of filth. It holds the lowest place in cloth hierarchy. Other types of cloth can get so dirty, they become floor rags to the household before they are thrown out. But the floor rags cannot become anything else. This piece attempts to make a connection between the huge population of domestic workers in Brazil today to our shamefully vast history with slavery. Brazil was the biggest receptor of Slaves in history, until it was the last country in the world to abolish it in 1888. 

Note: I am shifting to painting on used floor rags after this piece. I have been trading in the new ones I buy from street vendors for used ones with domestic workers I come in contact with.