You are a singer and released an EP with Nívea Sabino called Interioranas last November. Thinking about what Beatriz Nascimento said about body and dance being documents, do you see artistic manifestations as a manner of »presentifying« history?
This quote reminds me of her saying that the dance for the Black person is like an act of liberation. Music, dance, and rhythm have always been a way of communicating with Ancestrality, with the extraphysical. I experience this whenever I sing, because in my tradition we pray by singing. And that is also a form of emancipation for me.
In the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, a practice known as the »technique of catechism« was very common in the schools of Brasil. It consisted of the uncritical memorization of dates and names in history classes. What does the choice of May 13, 1888, to sign the Golden Law have to do with the erasure of Ventura Mina from official historiography?
I’ve been learning more and more to see time as something cyclical and spiral instead of a linear continuum. The false abolition still celebrated annually on the thirteenth is strategically taught and evaluated in school curriculum. But the same attention is not given to the Black protagonism and resistance in Minas Gerais, for example. Ventura Mina led the Revolt of the Carrancas on the May 13, 1833, the largest revolt led by the enslaved in Minas Gerais, even before the Revolt of the Malês. But these insurgencies didn’t have notoriety, I believe, due to the fallacy of the submission of the enslaved people to slavery. The truth is that the protagonists of the abolitionist movement had the color Black, as people still try to omit.
As Antônio Bispo wrote, »even if they burn the writing, they won’t burn orality. Even if they burn the symbols, they won’t burn the meanings. Even burning our people, they won’t burn ancestrality.« To you, what is the importance of the words in Bantu when it comes to preserving history?
For many traditions, words are a lot more than symbols. They carry strength, energy, a vibration. I started feeling them a while back. In my town there is a place called Cacimba. This word caught my attention and I started to think about the presence and influence of the Indigenous and African peoples in Carmópolis. Researching its etymology, I found that the word Kixima comes from Kimbundu, from the Bantu language family, and one of its meanings is »the well.« There, in the olden days, people washed their clothes and filled up buckets of water for the houses’ reservoirs. The cacimba/kiximba is a sign that these people from Congo or Angola were here. They are also arrows of these passages in the villages through the names Congo, Catucá, Mumbaça.
»Let the erê grow up to be a doctor and sign a new law / Let the erê know that his great-grandfather wasn’t a slave, but a true king.« These are the verses of the song-manifesto Let the erê live. Gathering 22 artists from Minas Gerais, the song was recorded in 2016 by the movement #NOSTEMOSUMSONHO. What was the context of this action?
I proposed this action from the repercussions of the Costa Barros slaughter in 2015: 111 shots were fired at five Black teenagers; 83 of them hit the bodies of these boys who had gone out to celebrate one of them getting his first job. That week I found out that two other teenagers had been executed here, near Belo Horizonte. It was with this feeling of powerlessness and outrage that I thought I would use the weapon that I had, my voice, my chant, and I summoned as many voices as I could to amplify this message in sensibilization, conscientization, and confrontation against this sad reality: every 23 minutes a young Black man is murdered due to racism. Racism that operates in the same way here and beyond here. I imagine that being Black in Germany must be as hard as being Black in Brasil, since historical violence continues to be normalized. And because it is normalized, it doesn’t cause any social commotion. Maybe through feeling and commotion we shall move forward in the combat against racism in its deepest root: structural and institutional racism. Art is our way to fight and educate.
Alice Zanon writes, teaches, creates lesson plans, and draws. It is said that predicates of action (»person does«) existed in oral languages before predicates of essence (»person is«), which were created by literate culture. She graduated in visual arts from UFMG in Brazil, she has been researching writing through its visuality and the word in space (its morphemes, lookalikes, translanguaging). She is currently studying education under an ecological perspective, oral and literate cultures, and sentence structures in Latin and Japanese.
Luiza da Iola, Afromineira, countrysider, natural from Carmópolis de Minas, Perpetual Queen of Our Lady of the Rosary, guardian of ancestral memory, normalist, singer and songwriter, artivist, art educator, researcher, history teller, producer, and cultural mobilizer. Idealizer of the artistic and sociocultural movement #NOSTEMOSUMSONHO that in 2016 released the song-manifesto #deixaoereviver, in sensibilization and conscientization of the extermination of Black youth. Through her art, she wishes to promote the culture of affection and the rescue of individual and collective ancestral memories.