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Overview

Arjan “re-historizes,” in spite of the slave-based patriarchate system, the decisive leadership role of the black woman and as a provider: mães-de-santo, wet nurses, cooks, “aunts” from the samba terreiros. Each one of them is an anti-Negra, by Tarsila.

Paulo Herkenhoff, An Angelus Novus Way Of Being, 2018

Brazilian artist, lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. Concepts about migration and other displacement of bodies and presence between spaces of struggle and power are latent in the works of Arjan Martins, the artist develops a unique pictorial technique among the process of building his canvases, addressing the diasporas and colonial movements in Afro-Atlantic territories. Arjan elaborates an artistic analysis in super-real time, his imagery and the expression of his pulsations work and react to the symbols from the period of maritime expansions and the slavery of black bodies, such as the caravel, the disputed terrestrial globe, the enslaved Africans and navigation tools as marks of that time.

Selected Works
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2020
    sem título [untitled], 2020
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2020
    sem título [untitled], 2020
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2019
    sem título [untitled], 2019
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2020
    sem título [untitled], 2020
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2019
    sem título [untitled], 2019
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2019
    sem título [untitled], 2019
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2019
    sem título [untitled], 2019
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2018
    sem título [untitled], 2018
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2018
    sem título [untitled], 2018
  • Arjan Martins, Atlântico, 2016
    Atlântico, 2016
  • Arjan Martins, Etcetera, 2016
    Etcetera, 2016
  • Arjan Martins, Américas, 2016
    Américas, 2016
  • Arjan Martins, O Estrangeiro IX, 2017
    O Estrangeiro IX, 2017
  • Arjan Martins, sem título [untitled], 2002
    sem título [untitled], 2002
  • Arjan Martins, sem tíulo, 2011
    sem tíulo, 2011
Selected Exhibitions

IV Bienal de Montevideo, Uruguai [Uruguay], 2019

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Biography

Brazilian artist, lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. Concepts about migration and other displacement of bodies and presence between spaces of struggle and power are latent in the works of Arjan Martins, the artist develops a unique pictorial technique among the process of building his canvases, addressing the diasporas and colonial movements in Afro-Atlantic territories. Arjan elaborates an artistic analysis in super-real time, his imagery and the expression of his pulsations work and react to the symbols from the period of maritime expansions and the slavery of black bodies, such as the caravel, the disputed terrestrial globe, the enslaved Africans and navigation tools as marks of that time. His drawings and sketches intensify and merge with broad and expanded gestures that go beyond the flow of the artist’s hand. The dialogue with the anachronism of time is visible, his paintings go beyond traces of the past and become opportunities for the ashes of cyclical times, as in “Agatha”, a painting where Martins creates a portrait of family blessing and farewell from the story of a child shot in the back in the Favela do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro, in October 2019, when she returned home with her mother in a van and crossed a violent police operation. Criticism of interrupted childhood and apartheid committed by institutional power - which has been killing hundreds of black bodies all over Brazil. The piece “Agatha”, as well as other works by the artist, reveal political demands in a pictorial space. Equity of rights for black bodies, the basic right of daycare centers, public parks, libraries and transport appear on Arjan’s canvases as images of absence. Art is a means of communication and social demands for the artist, who paints the right to life through representations full with meanings.

 

In 2020, made an exhibition at the Rema Hort Foundation, NY. In 2019, he participated of the Residency Unlimited, in New York, with the support of the Pipa Award, received in 2018. Also in 2019, he presented a big painting of 300 x 600 cm, specially organized for the 4th Montevideo Biennial in Uruguay, as well as the solo shows at The Armory Show in New York and The Historian’s Craft at ICA Milano in Italy. In 2018 he took part in the exhibitions Naufrágio Revisto de Géricault, promoted by Goethe-Zentrum Baku in Azerbaijan, Recortes da Arte Brasileira at the Art Berlin Fair and Fratura at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, São Paulo, as well as being part of the traveling exhibition Ex-Africa, promoted by CCBB at the 11th Mercosur Biennial, in Porto Alegre. In 2017 he held the solo show O Estrangeiro at the Brasilea Foundation in the city of Basel, Switzerland. In 2016 he had a solo show Et Cetera in the art gallery A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro. In 2014 he participated in the collective Do Valongo à Favela, at Rio Art Museum - MAR and held the individual Américas at MAM Rio. In 2006, he participated in the 7th Dakar Biennial, in Senegal. He has accumulated the Awards PIPA 2018, in the selection of award jury and popular voting categories, the Artistic Residency Award in Africa, promoted by the Goethe Institut in Lagos, Nigeria in 2017 and the Projectiles of Contemporary Art Award, of Funarte in 2015.

 

His works are among important collections such as: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; Gilberto Chateaubriand Collection I MAM Rio; Itaú Cultural; Pipa Institute; Pérez Art Museum Miami and Africana Art Foundation.