From September 23 to October 28, 2023, the exhibition IGNITE: Where You Seek Action, I am Spirit was held in Vila da Penha, a neighborhood in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, nestled near the favelas of Complexo da Penha and Complexo do Alemão. Organized by the Noix team, the show featured over 30 works by 21 artists exploring the realm of peripheral abstraction. Its aim was to break away from the expectations and stereotypes imposed on favela, peripheral, and suburban artists.
“The title ‘IGNITE: Where You Seek Action, I Am Spirit’ was chosen to encapsulate the exhibition’s essence. ‘IGNITE’ represents the idea of wanting to break away from the expectations and stereotypes that are imposed on us. It is an act of defiance against norms and of embracing individuality. ‘Where You Seek Action, I Am Spirit’ is about the ability for expression and creativity that each one of us possesses. This part of the name emphasizes that we are more than just an action or a superficial representation, we are spiritual beings full of depth and originality. The exhibition’s full name represents our mission of defying, breaking patterns, and celebrating the multiplicity of artistic voices that the periphery has to offer.” — Renan Andrade, artist and exhibition curator
According to the exhibition team, these artists are often pushed by the market to depict themes and images of their realities, without being able to explore more subjective dimensions of their lives. The hope is to allow residents of Rio’s favelas and peripheries to access artwork that would otherwise be traveling the world.
This is the second exhibition organized by Noix. Differing from the figurative art that marked the first edition in 2022 in the Honório Gurgel neighborhood, the second show turns toward abstract art. According to the team, the principal motivation is to consider the free creative process of favela, peripheral, and racialized artists, with a less materialistic view of art.
“We hope that the art scene in Rio’s peripheries further ignites with this exhibition, showcasing the diversity and potential that thrives within the suburbs and its artists. Through various forms, materials, and textures, these artists have directed gazes towards geometry, fluidity, and hybridity, defying constraints that label their art as merely ‘peripheral.’ Hearing viewers’ responses to the exhibition has truly energized our team. We felt it was important to discuss art through a counter-hegemonic lens, emphasizing the viewpoints of creators who investigate suburban art from a less materialistic and more spiritual perspective.” — Melissa Alves, exhibition curator
The event was a partnership with NONADA Art Gallery and marked the first independent art exhibition hosted at their Penha headquarters, located at Rua Conde de Agrolongo 677. With support from the North Zone Subprefecture, the curation and setup were led by architect Melissa Alves and artists Omep and Renan Andrade, alongside Noix’s team, overseeing the production. Entry was free of charge.
About the author: Felipe Migliani has a degree in journalism from Unicarioca with a focus on Investigative Journalism. Working as an independent journalist and freelance reporter at Meia Hora and Estadão newspapers, he collaborates with the Coletivo Engenhos de Histórias, which investigates and recovers history and memories from the Grande Méier region, and with PerifaConnection.