We had the good fortune of connecting with Emol and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emol, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Art is what makes me feel alive as an individual and as a collective being. I need to poetically materialize my ideas and perceptions. The art I produce also activates the poetry that is in other people. This creates a connection between us and helps to humanize us. My artwork allows me to learn more about myself and more about other people. Art sharpens the critical and poetic perception of life and is how I want to contribute to the world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am the son of peasants who migrated to the metropolis São Paulo. In my childhood I visited family members who lived in the countryside and they told many stories. Among these stories were some supernatural facts that they or their friends experienced. All These stories were my first contact with art. The supernatural was something that impressed me a lot during childhood. In the city I identified that the supernatural could also be in churches, could be in stores that sold religious objects, could be in the Candomblé and Umbanda spaces (Afro-Brazilian religions). Brazil was colonized by Europeans and the Christian churches did a lot of damage here. They killed, enslaved, raped and destroyed cultures by imposing the colonizer ‘s beliefs and laws. Therefore, these supernatural stories told by my family were interpreted as evil manifestations. Any interpretation other than Christianity was understood to be diabolical. At school I also learned the culture imposed by Europe, but samba and Hip Hop introduced me to other ways of perceiving the world. All of this influenced my art work. Looking back and thinking about the ground I walk are metaphors that I like to think about for my art work. The quest to decolonize myself, life as continuity and interdependence, time as a spiral and ancestry as a way of thinking about people and places, ancestry as a way of dealing with the natural and supernatural, dealing with mysteries. These are all important issues for me and somehow they are in my work. The language I use most is painting, but I also make drawings, collages, photos and texts. I create fictions with painting and also work with documents (photos and collages) that I collect during urban wanderings or travels.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would present some samba circles (gathered people to play musical instruments, dance and sing samba together). We would go to the stadium to watch a football match for the glorious Palmeiras team. I would present trails and camps on beaches. I hope that this friend also likes to urban wandering, going to places at random. I love it (laughs).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people at different times in my history. Impossible to name them all. Dona Elzira, Vovó Luisa, Lika Oliveira and Zé Hairdresser (my family). Samba (music) and samba circles (gathering of people to play musical instruments, dance and sing together). Hip Hop (graffiti writers, b.boys and b.girls, MCs and DJs), especially Hip Hop house of Diadema City and Zulu Nation Brasil collective. Literary soiree what happens in bars, public spaces and slums. The crowd that sings and vibrates to support the Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras (soccer team). The black movements in Brazil that aroused social class and racial awareness in my generation. Indigenous peoples, resistance and struggle, presenting projects of good living. All the dedicated teachers and sincere friends who taught me in some way. All artists with collective thoughts and actions.