For five months I became a Paulista, a resident of 'the most populous city in the Americas', one among more than 12 million.
My five-month stay at the FAAP residency was an unforgettable and truly enriching opportunity to immerse myself into the Brazilian culture and society. It was a positive learning experience and a prolific time filled with many enriching exchanges and friendships. In the months of my stay I not only made new friends at the residency itself, I was able to connect to other artists in the weekly exchanges at Sandra Cinto’s art discussion group at Ateliê Fidalga and in Beatriz Lemos’s project ‘Lastro Na Oswald’, in which I met the Bolivian curator Maria Teresa (Matecha) Gonzalez and other artists.
São Paulo is not an easy metropolis, I would go so far as to say that it is a very challenging one and my feeling after talking to my fellow residents is that it can be an overwhelming place for many. Adjusting to the city takes its time, and in my case it took up to close to two months (of which the first was devoted to carnival, an excellent time to arrive in town!), so I agree when it is suggested that the residency should ideally last for five to six months. Less than that is just too short to fully grasp the feeling and rhythm of such a vast city.
Being in São Paulo, across the street from the Prefeitura and witnessing the social unrest of recent times was also a valuable experience. The complexity and richness of the culture and of the social inequality climate provided a realistic and genuine outlook on current issues and problems within Brazil.
The studio is well designed and offers a generous space in which to live and work in. I especially appreciated the Paulistano chair, the long work desks and sober/minimalist furniture and the view into the Praça do Patriarca, full of the moradores da rua that have become ubiquitous in the city center (do not walk alone late at night!). The gorgeous ancient building is well situated with easy transport access and within close distance to many museums, galleries and cultural spaces.
The workshop facilities at the FAAP itself were a great place to work in, they are very well equipped and the technicians Juares Távora, Fabio Bendoraitis, José Aparecido and Santo offered all their support and knowledge kindly and efficiently. I was able to produce two new works of great quality at the printmaking and ceramic workshops, which would have been difficult to produce elsewhere. This is a true highlight of this residency.
The open studios were a good opportunity to have an informal chat with visitors, especially students from the FAAP itself, who gave me an insider's view of the art student's life and perspective of the local art scene. I also had the priceless help of Ana Victoria Surian and Thiago Sguoti, who helped me in producing my artist book "The book of love" and the ceramic installation piece "How to heal your abortion".
The conditions for learning and growth are good at the FAAP residency. São Paulo’s vibrant art and cultural scene are a true gem, a cascade of inspiration and information that takes a certain amount of time to digest, but once digested feels like a potent dose of vitamins. I would strongly recommend this residency to my artist friends who are bold enough and willing to take on such an intense experience.