November 14, 2019 - Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc - 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil: Imagined Communities
November 14, 2019

Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc

21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil Award

21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil
Imagined Communities
Awarded artists
October 9, 2019–February 2, 2020

Sesc 24 de Maio
Rua 24 de Maio
São Paulo-
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At a ceremony held  at Sesc 24 de Maio, the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil granted prizes to artists Aykan Safoglu (Turkey), Dana Awartani (Saudi Arabia), Gabriela Golder (Argentina), Nelson Makengo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), No Martins (Brazil), Roney Freitas & Isael Maxakali (Brazil), Omar Mismar (Lebanon), Thanh Hoang (Vietnam) and the collective Movimento de Luta nos Bairros, Vilas e Favelas (Brazil).

The awards, which aim to recognize and stimulate the development of artists with thought-provoking works, were selected by the international jury composed by Alexia Atala (Chile), Gabi Ngoboc (South Africa), Marta Mestre (Portugal), Rosangela Rennó (Brazil) and Reem Fadda (Kuwait). They collectively analyzed works by the 55 artists who are featured in this edition.

The awards
Offered by Electrica Cinema & Video, the State of the Art Award is granted to the best participating artist or group. Sesc Contemporary Art Award is given to two works by Brazilian artists, which will be included in the Sesc Collection of Brazilian Art. The Ostrovsky Family Fund (O.F.F.) offers an award for the most innovative moving image artwork. Lastly, three eight-week residency awards were offered by partners of the Videobrasil network: Instituto Sacatar (Itaparica Island, Bahia coast); MMCA Residency Changdong (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul) and Sharjah Art Foundation Residency Program.

Invited by the Biennial, artist Alexandre da Cunha created the trophy-sculpture. The polished metal sculpture that was given to the winners recreates a coconut with a straw, a ubiquitous image on beaches and streets in Brazil and Asian countries. The piece establishes a dialog with the idea of a national sentiment that American historian Benedict Anderson links to the end of the colonial empires, among other phenomena, in the essay Imagined Communities—which lends its title to this 21st edition of the exhibition.

Brought to the context of the Biennial, the sculpture refers to both the informal economies of the tropical regions and, on a more provocative note, to the scenographic fantasy of their rental havens. The disposable straw part of the coconut trophy and the box that holds it, made from pallet wood, the same as the crates where produce is transported around Brazilian municipal markets, invoke the legacy of invention and precariousness of the postcolonial economies and cultures.

The 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil runs through February 2, 2020, at Sesc 24 de Maio, in São Paulo, featuring more than 60 works, including videos, paintings, photographs and installations, as well as video programs, open classes, meetings and talks with artists and curators.

The following is a list of prizes and awarded artists:

State-of-the-Art Award - Electrica Cinema & Vídeo
, granted to the best artist or group
Gabriela Golder (Argentina), with the video installation Laboratorio de invención social (2018)

Sesc Contemporary Art Award, which included the awarded works in the Sesc Collection of Brazilian Art
No Martins (Brazil), with the work #JáBasta (2019), acrylic on various fabrics
Movimento de Luta nos Bairros, Vilas e Favelas - Aiano Bemfica, Camila Bastos, Cris Araújo and Pedro Maia de Brito, with the video Conte isso àqueles que dizem que fomos derrotados (2018)

Ostrovsky Family Fund (O.F.F.) Award, which awarded the most innovative moving image artwork
Thanh Hoang (Vietnam) with the video Nikki's Here (2018)

Sharjah Art Foundation Residency Award
Nelson Makengo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) with the video E'ville (2018)

MMCA Residency Changdong Residency Award
Omar Mismar (Lebanon) with the video Schmitt, you and me (2016–2017)

Instituto Sacatar Residency Award
Dana Awartani (Saudi Arabia) with the installation I went away and forgot you. A while ago I remembered. I remembered I’d forgotten you. I was dreaming (2017)

Honorable mention
Aykan Safoglu (Turkey) with the video Off-White Tulips (2013)
Roney Freitas & Isael Maxakali (Brazil) with the video GRIN (2016)

About Videobrasil
Videobrasil is an art platform and a cultural association for research and promotion of the artistic production of the regions of the world’s geopolitical South—Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded and directed by Solange Farkas, it is part of an action network that includes exhibitions, shows, publications, documentaries, meetings, and artistic residencies. With over a thousand video works and 4,000 items, its collection is a reference for the conservation of videos, video installations and performance records on the continent.

About SESC
Sesc (Social Service of Commerce) is a private, non-profit institution created in 1946 by entrepreneurs in the fields of trade and service, present all over the Brazilian territory. In the state of São Paulo, Sesc has 40 centers, mostly focused in the areas of Culture, Education, Sports, Leisure and Health. The work of Sesc São Paulo is guided by its educational character and the pursue for social welfare based on a broad understanding of the notion of culture.

Artistic director: Solange Farkas
Curatorial team: Gabriel Bogossian, Luisa Duarte and Miguel López

Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc
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Imagined Communities
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