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- 2008-2019 (Creation)
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The André Hora artist sketchbooks collection consists of Hora's complete works in sketchbooks from the period 2008 to 2019.
Collection description, provided by Martin Tsang, Curator of Latin American Collections:
The fifteen sketchbooks that represent a significant portion of the artist’s work, to date, include an incredible variety of media - drawings, prints, quotes, gathered materials such as clippings and test pieces. The themes present in the pages of the books refer to and draw upon numerous Afro-Atlantic traditions including Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomblé, Cuban Lucumí, as well as Yoruba, Fon, and Kongo ethnic and spiritual African sources. There is inspiration, for example, from specific orishas such as Oyá the transformative goddess of the Harmattan winds, the marketplace, and owner of the cemetery gates as well as more elusive traditions including Santa Muerte. In André Hora's sketchbooks, Caribbean and Latinx artists are present and referenced as wellsprings of inspiration, as are European, Asian, and Indigenous connections. The sheer variety of media shows how the artist works out his ideas on paper and devises approaches to best convey matters of the spirit, the mind, and the body. The sketchbooks offer a tantalizing and inspirational glimpse into the creative processes of making the abstract concrete and beautifully demonstrate and bring to life the many deities who travel between and beyond Africa, the Americas, and the entire world. The books reflect a deep spiritual connection to the divine as captured by the hand and heart of someone who is careful and concerned with safeguarding ritual knowledge while utilizing a wealth of techniques that help bring art to life.
My interest in art began early for me. From the age of eleven, I began taking art lessons in school in my hometown of Ilheus, in the state of Bahia, Brazil. My father, an architect, was a tremendous influence on my style and his work blueprints helped me understand and define spaces through lines, shapes, and forms. Through watching my father work and under his tutelage, I gained an appreciation of geometry and scale and working on paper to create pieces that could be developed into larger pieces, and also the importance of playing with materials and experimenting with forms. This early start in and out of school led me to further my abilities by taking private lessons with local artists that helped challenge my abilities and ways of seeing. Ultimately, these artists fostered inside me an abiding fascination with art that continues to this day.
I continued my studies at the University of La Rochelle, France and continued my practice under the guidance of local artists engaging with painters across the Niort region. In 2008 I became deeply interested in printmaking, inspired by the work of David Jones and Eric Gil whose work I saw in Wales in the UK. This period was a pivotal moment for me as this medium became my anchor in my mode of artistic expression. From this time, I also explored and embraced digital media and developing artistic technologies to further my methods. Viewing the work of James Jean was my inspiration to venture and experiment in new realms.
It was while studying and working on art in Europe that I began to appreciate the history and migrations that created the Lusophone Atlantic movements over the centuries. Through my art I started to explore and express facets of my Brazilian culture and my work is heavily inspired by deities of the African descent actively worshiped in Brazil and many countries of the Americas through the project of Trans-Atlantic slavery. The orishas - the pantheon of gods and goddesses are greatly present in my art and I explore ideas of contact and strategy of religious expression with references to deities in other African derived religions, indigenous beliefs, and the inclusion or transformation of European deities and philosophies by practitioners. I am particularly interested in exploring ideas, effects, and the presence of LGBTQ practitioners and how these are reflected in images of the divine in these Afro-Atlantic religions. I became fascinated by cordel - woodcut printed literature production of artists who I worked with in northeast Brazil. As an orisha priest and practitioner, I have devoted a considerable amount of my artistic output to creating works that reflect these deities in different methods drawn from these methodologies and my work is often commissioned by practitioners and my art now represents a movement of signifying worship in private and public ways.
I use a variety of printmaking techniques. I use manual techniques such as woodcut and linoleum which give my art a homely, rustic feel reminiscent of the art of Northeast Brazil which is close to my roots. I also use digital painting techniques that are rich in texture and colours. Whichever method I use, I start by sketching out my ideas in my notebooks which record my thought processes and studies much in the same way as a filmmaker would create a storyboard. From the outset, sketchbooks are key to my art process as they are a place to gather information: quotes, photos taken from a variety of places, works from the myriad of artists who inspire me, old and new. My sketchbooks have been shared with very few people as I am a perfectionist I would rather show a finished piece. My books represent the unfinished and undone, even messy work that includes my sketches and some are uncomfortable or dark visual thoughts, things that I feel I need to have an outlet for however I know will probably not make it into my exhibited works.
I create art because it is an intrinsic part of who I am and what I do. I couldn’t put into words what compels me to do it – I cannot imagine doing anything else. I take inspiration from folklore, music and the world around me and the world inside of me with all its contradictions, queerness, and search for the divine.
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- Hora, André (Creator)