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Denise Ferreira da Silva on Refusal and Fugitivity

Davi Pontes, Repertório N. 1, 2018. Photograph by De Beija. Image courtesy of the artist.

In this feature for Frieze, artist, professor and director of the Social Justice Institute- GRSJ at University of British Columbia, Denise Ferreira da Silva, discusses how contemporary Black Brazilian performance artists are confronting the anti-Black violence marking the current moment. Through their performances, Ferreira da Silva argues that these artists refuse the terms of state-sanctioned violence against the Black body-- a refusal of colonial authority of which gestures gesture towards a fugitive way of being, faintly suggesting other ways of existing in the world.

“In activating the capacity of Blackness to return injury (haptically, sonically, optically) without acquiescing to racial violence and dwelling in fear, these artists put forth works that expose the failed promises of justice while underlining the uncertainty (opacity, vulnerability, precarity) that characterizes the mode of existence that announces a world to come.” - Denise Ferreira da Silva

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