© Lais Pereira
Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga, PT
curated by Space Transcribers
The Platonic legacy, coupled with the separation of mind and body proposed by Descartes during the 17th century, provided a series of unexamined assumptions that span all social sciences, ie, the Western model of "person" provides a construction of the mind as a non-material place of rationalizing, thinking, language and knowledge, as opposed to the physical expression of irrationality, feeling and emotion. After Darwin, such physicality has been understood as "natural" instead of "cultural", the survival of our animal from the past. In the Western Christian tradition, the body as carnal is seen as the place of sinful desire, corrupt appetites, irrational passions, often subject to disciplinary practices with the aim of transcending itself.
Regardless of this legacy, it is not surprising to find expressions of curiosity and disgust about strange physical practices, excessive gesticulation, exotic rituals, and “wild” dances frequent in the encounters between 19th century explorers and natives. Such facts provided reason to call non-Western populations primitive and allowed the base of the Other and its stereotype. In general, the greater the difference in the variation of what was "acceptable" by the Western norm, the more primitive the society was judged.
During the centuries of slavery, the African body was the embodiment of our culture together with the music that was also organic. The wombs were not ours, motherhood was removed from us, such as the bond with our origin.
The hands we carry, the hands are ours. This peripheral span, which inhabited the periphery during the formative years, should not be seen as a mere marginal space, of loss and deprivation, but a place of possibility.
This period of isolation allowed me to turn inward, to what is organic to me, mind and body as one, outside the place of the city, as a subject, turning myself as the referent.
All images © Marta Pinto Machado