Lead and Cotton

Word from the artist

Chumbo e Algodão (lead and cotton) are two materials that are strongly connected to slavery and the slave trade, both references to the historical birth of the mestizo. The term “cultural patchwork” is the one that I suggest in order to understand the mixed race body as a “place” of tension and encounters, the aim being to highlight miscegenation as a mean to challenge the concept of the human race as a genetically “hybrid” race. I relate to the body as places of experiences, particularly through the form and historical contextualization of the mestizo’s body.

It is by dissecting this poly-linguistic and “multicultural” body that I propose to start a journey into the past, but also into the timeless, in order to tell the story of this entity that seeks to identify themselves as a holistic, intercultural and universal being, but also distinct and unique in its own right. In this case, the cultural dualities imposed on the body and not understood, may come forward in moments of revolt, bipolarities and confusion.

Weaving a web of lead and cotton is to perceive exactly the points of contrast between these different facets of the mestizo individual, and to try to untangle the historical ties binding the aggressor, the oppressed and the one in-between, the one serving as a frontier and serving the two opposites, materializing and dematerializing them at the same time. 


Vanessa Fernandes