The Karla Osorio Gallery presents the exhibition “Blue,” a solo show by the artist Matheus M. Abu.
About the exhibition
Elements of Matheus Abu’s daily life awaken the memory of the transits
made on the Atlantic Ocean during the first moments of colonization in
The artist sees these objects as an extension of his body and places them
as the protagonists of his works, giving the element the opportunity to
narrate their own history, connecting with the past and generating new
possibilities of interpretation for the future.
Altering and relocating his images, Abu elaborates an affectionate and
nostalgic narrative. His paintings interfere in the relationship of immensity
between the body and sea, awakening sensations that enable us to create a
timeless connection with what fills the space around us”
Sankofa holds a meaning that goes beyond the word and meets the image. Shape, along with
over eighty other symbols of the Akan culture, an artístic ideographic set known as Adinkras.
Sankofa is a communicator and the two ways in which most is commonly represented, whether
the bird that tums backwards or the shape that resembles a heart, embody, preserve and
aesthetically and meaningfully convey the histories, traditions, values and sociocultural norms of
the Ghanaian people.
Sankofa can be translated as “It’s never too late to go back and pick up what’s left behind. We can
always rectify our mistakes, leaming from the past to build the present and the future”. It means
that, in order to think and build the future sown in the present, the return, appreciation and
recognition of roots are necessary. With strong and cultivated roots, a people, a culture and
memories grow, spread and protect their bearers. Painting works as an organizing system of
visuality through forms of representation, ways of dealing with matter, composing images, and
reaffirming or creating regimes of visibility.
Matheus Abu’s research starts from the young artist’s concemns, of his perception of himself,
affections and the world that surrounds him, but he finds body, roots and memory in a past that he
shares through the time. The deep green, white and blue tones invite us to dive. The window
transparencies found and used by the artist as a support, they create games of light and shadow,
expanding the painting that goes beyond the limits of time and space.
In “Wisdom of leaming from the past to build the future” (2022), Matheus finds Sankofa as an
element of impregnation, recognizes its presence when observing and photographing everyday
scenes. Birds that make up the view from your window, the railings that adorn and guard the
houses and that also gain a spiritual meaning when together with the Swords of Saint George and
We know that plants, by silently growing and distributing their roots through the soil, are also an
important element of impregnation: knowing how to handle them, understanding their meanings
and powers can bring us closer to the past that is not absent, even that there are forces that seek
Recognizing the presence of these elements, Matheus creates life strategies through layers of
painting: rest and self-care in “Varanda” (2022), the study as a tool of justice in “Síntese” (2022)
and the collapse of structures of violence and deprivation as in “The palaces will collapse” (2022).
He celebrates, in “Owo foro adobe” (2022), the ingenuity and execution of a extraordinary feat of
those who not only resisted: they lived and remained.
The artist, calmly and with ownership of his practice and intellectuality, recognizes in himself, and
in his process, a path to Sankofa. “Se wo were fi wo sankofa a yenki”.
About the artist
A self-taught artist, he develops independent research on ancestry, spirituality and the African diaspora in Brazil, putting colonial history and its reverberations in the daily lives of racialized people into perspective. He started his work with the pixo language (grafitti), having a strong influence from the Rio de Janeiro rap scene, and collaborated with the covers for one of the important eps of rapper BK’, Before the “Giants Arrive vol. 1 and 2”. He also assisted great artists such as Panmela Castro, in the exhibition “Rua!” at the Rio Art Museum (MAR) and for Tomaz Viana, Toz at the Cultura Insônia exhibition at Caixa Cultural. The painting appears during the pandemic and on a trip to Salvador he discovered another set of symbols, the adinkra. Brought to Brazil by the enslaved, these ideograms were carved above all on the gates and windows of imperial Brazil by enslaved black blacksmiths, composing a sophisticated form of communication and resistance to subalternality. To rescue this language through his works is at the same time to challenge dominant visibility regimes and the canon of Eurocentric history (including art history), bringing to light an alternative history invisible to the eyes of the colonial mind.
In 2021, he participated in an artistic residency and had a solo show at Galeria Karla Osorio, in Brasília. He was on an artistic residency in Milan followed by a solo show from october 2022-february 2023. He had artistic residence in Austria – A.I.R Krems (January. 2023) and in Switzerland – One Gee in Fog, Geneve (may-june 2023). He will have several in institutional shows for 2023-2024 in Brazil and abroad. His works were presented in numerous art fairs in Brazil (ArPa, ARTSAMPA, SPArte and ARTRio). Some important museums have his works in Brazil such as MAR- Museum of Art in Rio and MNBA – Fine Arts Museum both in Rio de Janeiro.