Simões de Assis, a renowned art gallery nearing its 40th anniversary, is set to unveil its new space in São Paulo’s Jardim Paulista neighborhood with a groundbreaking international group exhibition titled “The Speed of Grace.”

Curated by Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah, the exhibition showcases a diverse array of works, including collages, paintings, sculptures, and mixed media. The artists featured hail from various parts of the world, including Ghana, the USA, Brazil, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Cameroon, England, and South Africa.

The exhibition, which opens on September 2, celebrates the audacious spirit of the participating artists. These artists, through their work, challenge existing power structures, question societal norms, and empower black and brown communities. Ossei-Mensah described the exhibition as a “curatorial gumbo,” emphasizing the innovative approaches of the artists and their contributions to contemporary art.

Among the standout pieces are Anthony Akinbola’s vibrant paintings crafted using “durags,” Mestre Didi’s sculptures made from palm tree veins and beads, and April Bey’s visually arresting installation using sherpa, jacquard, and brocade.

April Bey, reflecting on Brazil’s history with slavery, said, “Brazil was the last nation in the Western world to abolish slavery… The work I’m showing depicts imagery that centers Blackness on another world.”

Larry Ossei-Mensah, Simões de Assis. Crédito: Estúdio em obra

The exhibition serves as a bridge, connecting the diasporic narratives of the artists to Brazil, weaving a rich tapestry of stories and cultural discoveries.

Bony Ramirez, whose work emphasizes the Caribbean culture, noted the significance of motifs like shells in his paintings, which highlight the connection to the Caribbean’s vibrant background.

The exhibition not only fosters intercultural discourse but also promotes intergenerational dialogue, spotlighting both master artists and emerging talents.

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, exhibiting for the first time in Brazil, expressed excitement due to the deep historical ties between Brazil and West Africa. Similarly, Derrick Adams shared his enthusiasm about introducing his work, centered on identity, to a new Brazilian audience.

The Speed of Grace, Simões de Assis. Crédito: Estúdio em obra

Simões de Assis, which began its journey in 1984 in Curitiba, has expanded its operations over the years, with venues in Balneário Camboriú and now São Paulo. Guilherme Simões de Assis, the gallery’s director, emphasized the gallery’s commitment to preserving and disseminating the works of significant artists and expanding the reach of the Brazilian art market.

The new São Paulo space, designed by the Curitiba-based architecture firm Arquea, is open to the public from Mondays to Saturdays.

“The Speed of Grace” will run until October 21, 2023.


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