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Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro: Eclipse
April 3 – May 30, 2021
→ Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard Galleries
Curated by
  • Bernardo Mosqueira
Part of
Exhibition Category
Thesis Exhibitions, Student Curated Projects

Eclipse is the first work by Brazilian artist Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro (b. 1996, Vitória, Brazil) to be shown in the US and it highlights her original approach to matters of healing and decoloniality. This newly commissioned immersive installation uses spiritually active materials such as soil, salt, charcoal, stone, water, light, and cloth to form a mandala in the lit center of a darkened room. The shape of the work references the Bantu-Kongo cosmogram, dikenga. According to the artist, this emblem of spiritual continuity symbolizes the spiral movement of time and represents life as a series of continuous deaths and rebirths.

Since 2015, Vitorino Brasileiro’s work has intertwined Afro-Brazilian spirituality, psychology, and art to create tools, facilities, and practices of healing for those who are hurt by coloniality’s uneven distribution of resources and violence. The arbitrary categorization of people by race, gender, birthplace, and other fixed identities is the fundamental colonial procedure used to protect the power structures that became globally hegemonic in the modern era. Vitorino Brasileiro’s work deals directly with those wounds opened by racism, colonialism, heteropatriarchy, and other modes of social, political, and cultural domination that classify people in order to subdue and exploit them. By combining her research as a psychologist with the Bantu cosmovision of her ancestors from the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, Vitorino Brasileiro creates works and texts that understand healing as a provisional state of alignment between the numerous lives that simultaneously compose a person.

An eclipse is a break that occurs in the linearity of the moon or sun cycle. In Portuguese, Vitorino Brasileiro’s first language, “sun” is a masculine word and “moon” is feminine. “Eclipse,” then, can be understood in this work as a symbol for all forms of living that unavoidably contradict the system of fixed identities imposed by coloniality. The ways in which this installation is capable of supporting people in their healing processes remains secret. Special lighting, an original soundtrack, and places to sit and lie down are provided to stimulate meditative experiences that lead to unknown bodily states. In this way, Eclipse hopes to support people in developing their own healing processes—their own embodied state of eclipse.

In addition to general CCS Bard exhibition support, Eclipse was made possible by the generous support of 4H5H Media (Marcus Vinicius Ribeiro and Zach Kuipers) and OSUN Center for Human Rights and the Arts.