Brazilian artist Doris Nogueira-Rogers talks to us about her work and shares some of her experiences as an educator
October 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
AR-L: Please tell us a little bit more about your work as an artist-educator.
DN-R: My experience as an artist- educator goes back to 1972. After my first major (two woman) show in Rio de Janeiro the gallery owner approached us with an “idea”. Would we be interested in creating an art program for children in the back yard of the gallery? What???
Being a well known commercial gallery this was certainly a surprise. In talking with her we found out that she was a believer in education through art. The physical space of the gallery, a beautiful two story house turned gallery, lent itself to such experiment. So Mariza , a young artist with also a kindergarten teaching certificate, and I developed this pilot program. It lasted for a couple of years until the closing of the gallery. Great experience!
This is all I needed, I guess, to become an advocate for education through art . After moving to the US , I got involved with Taller Puertorriqueño as a volunteer artist , 1979 . From there on, Taller as well as other organizations would ask me to do workshops. That evolved to special projects and art residencies. I continued to work/teach parallel to my own art production.
As an artist and educator I find that ART can be extremely successful as a mentoring tool. Collaborations allow us to participate in an exchange that mostly benefits the young people or a community. I am a true “teaching artist” because I do not have a teaching certificate. I do what I do from the belief that under my direction, mentorship and hands –on instruction people, young and old, can have an unforgettable life experience.
AR-L: How do you balance your artistic production as a printmaker with other media you regularly explore?
DN-R: Actually trained as an Interior Architect and Designer my focus had been works on paper. I started by drawings in black Indian ink . These drawings soon got little specks of color by incorporating color tissue papers or color inks. My interest in Printmaking developed here in Philadelphia. I worked with etching and lithograph. Due to a pregnancy I had to stay away from the chemicals that were instrumental in the production of those prints. That forced me to explore other alternatives and I stared working with block prints. The inclusion of other materials was something that came natural to me. I started to incorporate elements from indigenous Amazonian artifacts, fibers, feathers etc. The “mixed media” concept gave me a language to better express myself. I often use printing techniques in the production of an original piece, not necessarily an edition of prints.
AR-L: Could you tell us more about the socio-political context of the piece “Arcoiris Brasileiro / 1985”?
DN-R: I keep many sketches/ ideas in my sketch books. It is interesting that this particular piece was there. I had started it but put it aside for quite some time. The theme of this exhibition was the perfect opportunity to revisit it and finalize it. To me it is a piece a bit chaotic, esthetically speaking, which is perfect if it is to depict what was happening in Brasil in 1985- CHAOS. After 21 years of a military government the people took to the streets to demand elections. The movement grew stronger each day until the culmination of a nationwide demonstration called “Diretas Ja” , meaning “direct elections now”. What they meant by ” direct” was, by the people .
The broken rainbow, upside down, interrupted by two big leaves, one with inscription of the words – liberty and peace- the other with busy lines crossing in a scrambled fashion bear a circle with sprouting lines in dark colors. In this circle that is a feeling of energy. The bottom part of the work bears spiral designs embroided with cotton fiber dyed in the Brazilian colors symbolizing continuity. All these elements put together in a grey and black background illustrates my feelings towards the reality of that time.
AR-L: How did you come up the idea for the FOME ZERO piece? What is / are the technique(s) used in it?
DN-R: The idea comes from the on- going speech / platform of our late president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. His promise was to eradicate hunger ( FOME) in Brazil. He created the program “Fome Zero”. Did things get a little better to a poor segment of our population? Yes. Did he eradicate hunger? NO. That made me think of how “free” does one really feel if they have democracy but can’t feed their children? their family?
To put my idea together I made two master plates using real rice and black beans. After printed , I worked in mylar and produced the inkjet prints. The letters are block prints. My concept was to have a feeling of a quilt- symbolizing mending- by sewing the prints with cotton thread in the national colors.
AR-L: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
DN-R: There is only one thing to say about my participation in this Diálogo 365 : It was an honor to be part of such great exhibition. I truly appreciate all that was done to secure the success of the show. Thank you.