RIO HAMZA work in progress

The underground “river” Rio Hamza was discovered in Brazil’s Amazon Basin in 2011. It is relegated to the status of “river” (as opposed to River) because it is really a 6000-kilometer-long aquifer, leisurely flowing along at a depth of 4000m. Its name is not even official. Along with the mighty Amazon River, the invisible Rio Hamza is part of the extremely rare occurrence of a twin river system moving at two different levels through the Earth’s crust.

Rio Hamza is an installation that unites three different narrative threads. First, it harks back to a 1998 oil painting the artist installed at the altar of São Paulo’s ancient Morumbi Chapel called Mantra. The 3.20 x 5.40 m canvas depicts a towering waterfall, pulsing and potent. Accompanied by a sound installation, it constitutes a natural “mantra” in the sacred space.

Second, Mantra was installed, in September 2017, in the Amazonian rainforest, between two “trees of life” (Buriti, from mburi’t in Tupi-Guarani). The nearly 20-year-old representation was thus re-injected back into the present nature it tries to capture.

Last, the work Mantra was installed in Paricatuba, a historical building that had succumbed to the encroaching nature. These narratives are brought together in a single installation in which the imagery from Mantra’s peregrinations are hung on sliding rails, creating a new body of imagery tackling the elusiveness of representation.

Rio Hamza is a work in progress.

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