Brazilian street artist Nunca addresses the effect of globalization on a society caught between exporting its culture and embracing foreign products. Blunt expressions are engraved into the walls of Brazil, doused in paint and branded with the logo of Naique (NIKE). His characters are frozen in a struggle to maintain the authentic culture of Brazil while adapting to an influx of foreign goods on the global market.
You’ll recognize Nunca from numerous publications. He was an essential part of the book Graffiti Brasil released in 2005. Nunca most recently was invited to exhibit at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, he was commissioned this year to cover the entire exterior of a Scottish castle with friends Os Gêmeos and Nina. We’re happy to have him here.
This interview was translated by Inês Amaro in Portugal. Originally published on Our Art Site Dot Com in 2007 by Dasco. A copy of this interview in Portuguese may be made available upon request.
How long have you been doing graffiti?
“I started painting in the streets more or less about 12 years ago.”
About how many murals have you done?
“I don’t remember.”
Your characters appear very indigenous. Latin America , specifically Brazil boasts many ethnicities. Is there a statement being made in the portrayal of your characters? Is it political?
“When I go out to paint on the street, I’m picturing the people that live there, it’s for them.
Who in Brazil isn’t of a mixed breed? And even so I can say I’m black, white or Indian, why not?
I believe because of the mixing breeds, Brazil is culturally rich, but we don’t value that cultural richness, we don’t respect ourselves, we don’t try to improve our self-esteem.
The images I use of Indians are a way to depict that this rich culture lives within each Brazilian, but the foreign exploitation in the country, diminishes Brazil’s self-esteem.
An Indian in the city either chooses to maintain its roots or to use NAIQUE (Nike)’s sneakers.
The Knowledge of Indigenous people with its unique way to see the world is rooted in the Brazilian culture, as well as its natural resources in the Amazon forest.
I always try to politicize my work, with subjects that can be about cannibals, the ravishing exportation of Brazilian fruit, of Indigenous culture, the forgery of labels, but the focus of my interventions questions how the traditional culture mixes, maintains or loses itself to globalization.”