Bruna Gidi

I could smell the sea for the first time.
August 1, 2020

Carapuça, photo: Alile Dara
I live near the sea. From my balcony I can see fragments of its water between the stories of old buildings. I have lived in this apartment for almost two years now and only a month ago I could smell the sea from here for the first time. I don't know if the smell is real or a memory trick, but it made me wonder how the isolation reverberates in each of us.

What if I never realized that from here I could smell the sea? A nostalgia rises in me...maybe this longing for the sea is a longing for life? Lately, I carry the longing as an attached organ—on trips to the market, to the pharmacy, to the bathroom and, especially, during dreams. What was once a reality returns in a dreamlike way, making it difficult to wake up.

I've been trying to live one day at a time. I wake up, I make coffee, I smell the sea and I start the day.

Untitled (work-in-progress), 2020, I Don’t Know If It’s You, 2019, When Promises Were Many, 2020

For a long time I felt immobilized, for all the interrupted projects, for the lack of perspective on when this will end, for the political polarization that has been taking over my country. I made the Bolsonarista drawing to illustrate the degree of narcissism needed by those who defend the president. In addition to having made racist, homophobic and misogynistic statements before and after the election, he has never acknowledged the growing number of virus-related deaths in Brazil.

I remember in one of the press conferences on the pandemic, he did not speak of preventive measures in relation to the increase in mortality but, instead, found a way of saying that same-sex couples weren’t natural. This type of hate speech is being normalized by his ellectors and it gets me in an extremely personal way. As a woman, a lesbian and an artist, living and working in this environment has been, at the very least, challenging and exhausting. Even before the pandemic most of the public funding programs were canceled, the university funds were cut and the president has made statements undermining and diminishing the importance of the arts.

I don’t know if we can call it an advantage but being taken off our regular beat makes us put ourselves in a place we’ve never been before. During the quarantine I dedicated myself more to illustration, mainly because I needed to work during the pandemic and was looking for possible ways of financial support during these difficult times. But I also really like the process. I started posting on Instagram various tests of comic strips and cartoons.

Na Vulnerabilidade Visito a Força means in Vulnerability I Find My Strength.

I believe that in this isolation, accessing your vulnerability, which is often suppressed by the everyday life, has become much more evident and necessary. Although it is difficult, getting in touch with pain and allowing yourself to be vulnerable makes us stronger at the end.

Ceramics, 2017-2019

I have missed the involvement of my body in creation of performances. Recently, organizing old documents, I found an excerpt from a text I wrote about a performance of mine, called Salobra, which means brackish. In the performance I carry a large clay sphere on my head, balancing its weight as it ends up merging with my body. The text goes like this:

When I put clay on my body I feel the truth of my story. I feel that this is the most raw, most powerful form of creation. Maybe I want to dance or to cry, so that my tears soften the ground I step on, which, in turn, becomes clay once again.

Originally I wanted to dissolve the sphere on the coast of Bahia at the meeting of the river with the sea, where the water is brackish, but I have been thinking about ways to adapt its poetics to my current body in quarantine. The sphere has always represented loneliness and isolation for me. It is rigid and strong, seemingly unbreakable, but in the face of water and salt becomes fragile and soluble. This metamorphosis and duality reminds me of what we are all experiencing right now.

Salobra, 2019

Bruna Gidi is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Salvador, Brazil. She started working with ceramics in 2016 while developing interactive sculptures. The desire to expand the personas born in clay made her incorporate this aesthetic by utilizing her body in a series of performances. Bruna is currently focused on the body's powers, creating at the intersection of sculpture and performance art. @brunagidi︎︎︎
© 2021 this pandemic thing