zum zum auê – collective of collectives

April - July 2022

DESPINA, with the support of the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro, through the Carioca Culture Promotion Program of the Municipal Department of Culture, is pleased to announce Zum Zum Auê – Collective of Collectives, a project in the field of arts and aesthetic-political activism designed to support, promote the work and the self-representation of collectives formed by bodies that are historically subordinated and their narratives erased, as people LGBTQIA+, Afro-descendants, indigenous people and women.
The project consists of a six-week residency program, between May ans June 2022, where four artist collectives, selected by open call and through a selection committee, will be part of an agenda that includes support for the practices of each group, collective activations and events open to the public.
Zum Zum Auê – Collective of Collectives has as main objectives:
– Support, strengthen and make visible the cultural production of collectives in Rio de Janeiro formed by historically subordinated bodies such as LGBTQI, black, indigenous and women;
– Encourage the formation of networks and exchanges among the collectives;
– Provide tools for the development of the practices of each collective through the Educative Programme;
– Share creative practices through public workshops proposed by the collectives;
– Present to the public the artistic work of relevant collectives in the Rio de Janeiro cultural scene;
– Create possibilities for public access to the backstage of creative processes;
– Make visible the practices and guidelines contained in the actions of the collectives and their members;
– Guarantee the continuity of the work of Despina and the professionals who are part of the Association’s network, expanding financial support to collectives of artists.

SELECTED COLLECTIVES: Anarca Filmes, Coletiva Ocultas, Slam das Minas RJ and Trovoa.

Mina Mana Mona

Ocupação e Feira Mina Mana Mona

Mina Mana Mona é um projeto de ocupação coletiva, por mulheres cis e trans, do espaço da Despina como ateliê de produção e de experimentações de convivência durante outubro e novembro de 2021. Propomos articular colaborações, cruzamentos, construções comunitárias, redes de afeto e de geração de renda. Mais do que uma proposição, Mina Mana Mona é um exercício. O projeto foi finalizado com uma feira de artes e ativismos com 17 expositoras convidadas para participar: Aline Besouro, Amanda Seraphico, Anis Yaguar, Aya Ibeji, Cali Nassar, Consuelo Bassanesi e Marcela Fauth / Vem pra Luta Amada, Dri Simões, Ella Franz Rafa, Lanchonete <> Lanchonete, Lara Lima, Maria Palmerio, Mariana Paraizo, Mayara Velozo, Sabine Passareli, Sofia Skmma, Tapixi Guajajara, Yuki Hayashi / Fudida Silk. As cozinha ficou a cargo da KuzinhaNem, projeto de formação gastronômica vegana da Casa Nem. Outras edições da Feira Mina Mana Mona irão acontecer ao longo de 2022.

New items in Compa – Women’s Archive


In 2020 Despina was awarded the subsidy provided for the Lei Aldir Blanc, aimed at the maintenance of artistic and cultural spaces that had their activities interrupted due to social isolation measures. In return, we had planned five workshops in municipal schools when they reopened. At that moment, we imagined that in a few months this would be possible. Given the lack of control of the pandemic in the country, we had to adapt our counterpart to the digital format.

In this scenario, we propose the insertion of entries by activist artists in Compa – Women’s Archive. These items are the embryo of a survey that we intend to carry out throughout 2022, mapping the activist artists active in the country. In this initial and embryonic stage, we are going to introduce seven artivists who work in multiple languages. We would like to thank Ana Lira, Indianarae Siqueira, Juliana Notari, Lara Lima, Marcela Fauth, Maya Inbar and Sabine Passareli for the material – and for their activism!


Content produced as a counterpart to Inciso II da Lei Aldir Blanc, Prefeitura Municipal do Rio de Janeiro/Secretaria Municipal de Cultura, Secretaria Especial de Cultura/ Ministério do Turismo e Governo Federal.

Compa – Women’s Archive

2020 - 2021

Compa – Women’s Archive is the first Brazilian digital archive totally dedicated to the memory, herstories, struggles, achievements, initiatives, micropolitics and daily revolutions of women and the feminist movement in the country.

The archive aims to map, retrieve and make publicly available collections of t-shirts, zines, pamphlets, flags, posters, chants, poetry, bottoms, scarves, manifestos and other objects and memorabilia that document, articulate and elaborate transdisciplinarily the ongoing narratives and struggles.

The archive collection is built on two fronts:

Research and curatorial work in which we invite women and initiatives that operate in different fields of action to participate in the effort to document these memories.
Collective construction based on the autonomous engagement of organisations, collectives, women’s movements, activists and independent feminists who want to collaborate, making their collections and materials available directly in the archive.
Compa is a project by Despina in collaboration with Lanchonete Lanchonete and its implementation (phase I) was funded by the International Relief Fund of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and other partners: www.goethe.de/relieffund.

Compa (short for “companheira”, an affectionate term used between allies in activism) was conceived following three conceptual pillars:

1 – The concept of “history from below”, that looks at history through the perspective of ordinary, oppressed, non-conformist people and marginalized groups, recognizing and recording reports and conflicts that escape the hegemonic narrative of dominant groups;

2 – The intersectional feminism perspective, which understands oppressions through layers that include gender, race, class, age, religion and other issues;

3 – The recognition of collectivity as a revolutionary and necessary field of action to imagine other possible worlds and to redefine the dominant excludenting logic.

Strange Bodies

August 2019

“Strange bodies” is a project in the field of arts and aesthetic-political activism designed to promote visibility, empowerment and self-representation of young artists in conditions of vulnerability, among them are trans, non- binary, indigenous and black artists. This project was conceived as a reaction to the murder of artist Matheusa Passareli and from our permanent indignation at violence against bodies historically subjected to violations of rights and precarious conditions. During the month of August 2019, Despina will become a center for coexistence and collective activation, with a residency programme and a public agenda that includes talks and workshops.

The Residency Programme offers:

  • A collective studio for 4 artists living in the city of Rio de Janeiro (selection process in course*)
  • Curatorial support (individual and group meetings)
  • Weekly meetings to follow up projects
  • Administrative and logistic support
  • Perdiem (BRL 1500 per artist/per month)
  • Production grant (BRL 500 per artist)
  • Final show to present the works and researches developed by the artists during the residence

After an open call held in April and May, our Selection Committee worked on the analysis of the applications received, based on the diversity of bodies and subjectivities, as well as the affinity of the proposals with the concept of the project. The selected artists to participate in the residency program are: Agrippina R. Manhattan, Igor Bahia, Jade Maria Zimbra and Linda Marina.

For more information about the artists (in Portuguese only), click here.

This project was conceived by Despina in collaboration with Gabe Passareli. It’s financed through a donation organized by Alexander and Chantal Maljers-van Erven Dorens, in tribute to Matheusa Passareli, who participated in the Bison Caravan project in Rio de Janeiro in 2017.


by Frederico Pellachin

Gallery 1 > Processes, workshops, activities (horizontal scrolling)

Gallery 2 > Strange Encounters // Closing party (horizontal scrolling)

Gallery 3 > Workshop “Strange bodies in the city” in partnership with MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio (horizontal scrolling)


Open Bodies Residency / Residência Corpos Abertos 2018

September 2018

Open Bodies Residency (Residência Corpos Abertos) is a programme designed jointly by Despina and The Fruitmarket Gallery, with the support from the British Council and Creative Scotland. It brings together Brazilian and Scottish-based performance artists who adress issues related to gender and/or sexuality. The programme is in two parts. The first part was a residency which took place at Despina in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in September 2018. The selected artists participated in a range of cross-cultural activities such as public talks, sharing of work events and workshops. Part two of the programme saw the Scottish artists participate in the Open Out programme at The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in February 2019.


Selected for this first edition, Miro Spinelli, Vinícius Pinto Rosa, Henry McPherson and Stephanie Black-Daniels worked together in our art sudios during the month of September 2018 and developed their research and projects in response to the new environment and the proposed dialogues. They also participated in a series of events and activities, such as talks, workshops and an open studio event to share their works with the public.

Learn more below about the artists and check out the photo galleries at the end of this page.



Miro Spinelli is a performer artist and researcher who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He holds a Master’s Degree in Performance from the Performing Arts PhD Programme at UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro). Currently, Spinelli is investigating how performance and its radical connection with materiality, writing and dissent can generate forces on the subjects, creating possible counter-ontologies. Since 2014, he has been developing  the continuous project and series “Gordura Trans” (“Trans Fat”), mixing performance, photographs, texts and installations.

This project has been presented in several Brazilian cities and abroad with the collaboration of artists such as Fernanda Magalhães, Jota Mombasa and Jup Pires. In 2017, he was awarded a scholarship (along with artist Luisa Marinho) to take part in a residence programme at the Andreas Züst Library, in Switzerland, where they developed together the “Chupim Papers”, which shed light on themes such as precariousness, abjection, decoloniality, politics of affection and transgenderism, focusing on the body and its poetics and political potencial.

More information, here.




Vinícius Pinto Rosa lives and works in Niterói (RJ). He currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts from Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and works as an assistant to Rio-based artist Laura Lima. His practice incorporates issues that cross identities and subjectivities in the production of objects and installations, with the body itself as a power of image and action, which, in turn, establishes new forms of relations, access and images of the world and of the other. His practice is very influenced by the universe of  a carpentry (where his father works and where much of his experience within the studio space takes place).

His works reach both performance and design fields and question constructions, polarizations and binary lines already established. They also reveal a hybridism and a multiplicity of activations and accesses that the body can create from a direct relation with the object. Vinicius has been developing the projects “Devices” and “Baseline” since 2014 and they have already been presented in several Brazilian galleries and art spaces.

More information, here.




Henry McPherson is an inter-media artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. His practice in composition, improvisation and performance is embedded in mixed-media score-production, devised performance, present-time composition, cross and inter-disciplinary practice, through which he explores personal and collective identities, musical and otherwise performative traditions. Henry’s work centres around the body-mind, score-object as mediator, the subject of invocation, impulse-led generation, queer and sustainable art practices, and meanings of ownership in collectively-generated improvisation. He is a founding member of Glasgow’s mixed-arts collective EAST (Experimental Artists Social Theatre), KUI piano duo, and the chamber trio Savage Parade.

In recent years, Henry has collaborated with groups and individuals such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scotland, Martyn Brabbins, RedNote ensemble, The Glasgow New Music Expedition, Garth Knox, Zilan Liao and Germany’s Ensemble Modern. He is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland composition dept., and is an award holder of the Dinah Wolfe Memorial Prize for Composition (2014); Scottish Opera’s Opera Sparks Competition (2016); the Patron’s Prize for Composition (2017); the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Composition Club Prize (2017); the Harriet Cohen Memorial Music Award (2018); and was a nominee for the inaugural Scottish Awards for New Music (2017).

He has been awarded residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativiy (CA, Alberta, The Creative Gesture: Collective Composition Lab for Music and Dance), Despina (Open Bodies Residency, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, with the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh) and Skammdegi Residency and Festival (IS, Olafsfjördur).

More information, here.




Stephanie Black-Daniels is a Scottish based artist living and working in Glasgow, having spent most of her early years and education in the Middle East. Most recently she has completed her Phd in Fine Art practice, with a specialism in performance at The Glasgow School of Art.  Since 2010 she has toured her work nationally and internationally to festivals and galleries in the UK, Berlin, Lithuania, Finland and Chicago. In 2011, she received the Athena Award by New Moves International and National Review of Live Art, Glasgow. Stephanie was also mentored by the late drag King pioneer Diane Torr.

She has a well-established facilitation practice, which is vital to the way she makes, researches and produces new work. Her most recent workshop was at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, looking at the ‘Body as Sculpture’. Stephanie is interested how an object can change her interaction and intimacy with others, creating visual and poetic scores to act as a dramaturgical key to unlocking subject-matter or narratives for performance. Her work situates between a physical and sculptural practice, developing live and documented performative outcomes where sound, movement, image, object, light and costume intersect. Stephanie engages with performance as a way to explore the relationship between body and space, especially around gender and sexuality. She uses the body as a tool for measurement and is interested in the ‘extended body’ and ‘body as object’ to consider questions around ‘the self’, ‘the other’ and ‘the theatrical’.

More information, here.


Pictures Gallery I (horizontal scrolling)
Residency, workshops, open studio event
Photos: Frederico Pellachin

Pictures Gallery II (horizontal scrolling)
Artists’ works
Photos: Frederico Pellachin

Pictures Gallery III (horizontal scrolling)
Open Out Programme (The Fruitmarket Gallery, February 2019)
Photos: Chris Scott

Open Bodies Residency 2018

A project by
The Fruitmarket Gallery

British Council
Creative Scotland

Project Conception & Coordenation
Consuelo Bassanesi
Iain Morrison

Communication, Production & Documentation
Frederico Pellachin

Curatorial Support
Guilherme Altmayer
Raphael Fonseca

Financial & Legal Management
Clarice Corrêa

Thanks to
Alexandre de Oliveira, Iain Morrison & The Fruitmarket Gallery, British Council, Creative Scotland, Ricardo Kelsch, Jak Soroka, Hanna Tuulikki, Raphael Fonseca, Guilherme Altmayer, Lorena Pazzanese, Maíra Barillo, Maria Clara Contrucci, Manuela Maria, Paula Villa Nova, Marcelo Sant’Anna and Tetsuya Maruyama.




Senado Tomado

Every month

SENADO TOMADO is our monthly open studios evening, which brings together a series of events, such as talks, performances, end of residency shows, pop-up exhibitions + all art studios open to the public. Follow the links below to check all editions.





Art and Activism in Latin America – year III (2018)

Year III - 2018

Art and Activism in Latin America is a Despina project, with the support from the Dutch organization Prince Claus Fund. The project extends for three years (2016, 2017 and 2018). Each year, a theme guides a series of actions, including occupations, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, public talks and a residency programme. For this third edition, the theme was DISSENT AND DESTRUCTION.

Theme’s presentation
by Consuelo Bassanesi and Guilherme Altmayer

Like an earthquake, artistic and activist practices, through avant-garde and revolutionary actions, are capable of causing cracks in structures regarded as unshakeable. Discordant forms of life organization have long coexisted – equidistant, clandestine, or even in conflict – within normative and dominant models.

Given the incontestable failing of current social and political systems, which are still founded on inequality, indifference and injustice, what other forms of survival will be possible from this dystopian scenario?

Based on this question, we propose to articulate connected strategies of action in order to make the overthrow, the collapse and the implosion of the hegemonies possible: to think of new futures.

In this third year of Despina’s Art and Activism in Latin America project, we will look at those who turn discontent into incendiary ideas and everyday conspiracies, having as tools of struggle collaborative spaces for insurrection and configurations of networks of counter-conduct.

Among topics as relevant and urgent as racism, mass displacement, cuir, indigenous extermination, gender violence, fake news, political persecution, normative processes and moralization of bodies, discourses and practices; we will welcome proposals permeating fields such as artificial intelligence, crypto-coins, hacktivism, algorithms, network regulation, afro-futurism, deconstruction of whiteness, legal activism, active education methodologies, community health, alternative spaces and systems of art and culture, alternative agricultural practices, speculative fiction, among many others.

We look for dissonant existences, ongoing tensions, radical positions; not as mere allegories but as the opening of loopholes in the economic, political and social operating systems. Transgressions that offer alternatives to cohabit the present, in full acceleration of the process of the ruins, which we can no longer stand to contradict without counter attacking.


The artists selected to participate in the residency this year were: Ana Lira (Brasil), Danitza Luna (Bolivia) and Felipe Rivas (Chile). During the months of May and June, they held workshops at Despina and developed their researches and projects in response to the new environment and network. They also participated in a series of activities, such as talks, seminars and visits to public universities. At the end of the residency, the whole process was gathered in the exhibition “Dissent and Destruction”.

Two highlights of this year’s editon: the act-intervention “Strange Night: care, coexistence, agency”, conceived by Gabe Passareli, Marta Supernova, Clarissa Ribeiro and Lorran Dias, in dialogue with the life, work and poetics of Matheusa Passareli + the workshop-process: “Active cartography of Networks of Care and Creation”, coordinated by artist and researcher Cristina Ribas.




Apr 21st, 28th & May 5th 1 pm
Workshop-process: Active cartography of networks of care and creation. With artist and researcher Cristina Ribas.


May 1st
Beggining of the residency with selected artists for this edition: Ana Lira (Recife, Brazil), Danitza Luna (Bolivia) and Felipe Rivas San Martin (Chile).

May 17th 7 pm
Public talk with Ana Lira, Danitza Luna and Felipe Rivas San Martin.

May 19th, 22nd, 24th, 26th & 29th; Jun 5th & 7th – various times
Feminist graphic workshop “Nuestra venganza es ser felices” (Our vengeance is to be happy) with Danitza Luna.

May 28th; Jun 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th 6 pm
Collective workshop “About an insurgent feeling” with Ana Lira.

May 30th 7 pm
Strange Night: Care, Coexistence, Agency. Intervention-act conceived by Gabe Passareli, Marta Supernova, Clarissa Ribeiro and Lorran Dias – in conversation with the life, works and poetics of Matheusa Passareli.

June 7th 11 am
Public seminar with Ana Lira, Danitza Luna and Felipe Rivas San Martín at UERJ (University of the state of Rio de Janeiro).

Jun 14th 7 pm
Opening of the exhibition “Dissent and Destruction”, bringing together the researches and processes developed by Ana Lira, Danitza Luna and Felipe Rivas San Martín during their residency in Rio de Janeiro.

Jun 21st 6:30 pm
Workshop “Queer Retrofuturism” with Felipe Rivas San Martín.

Jun 22nd 6:30 pm
Despina Cine Club presents: “13th” (Ava DuVernay, USA, 100’, 2016) + talk with Luciane Ramos (Magazine O Menelick 2° Ato) & Renata Codagan (Universidade das Quebradas, UFRJ) + special guided visit to the exhibition “Dissent and Destruction” with Danitza Luna.

Jun 23rd 3 pm
Launch of the book “Multitud Marica” by Felipe Rivas San Martín + screening of sex-dissident videos.



Ana Lira is a Brazilian artist who lives and works in Recife (Pernambuco, Brazil). Her work seek to discuss political experiences and collective actions as processes of mediation. Power relations and implications in the dynamics of communication are among the main issues of her art projects, which articulate visual narratives, press material, printed media and independent publications. She is a specialist in Theory and Criticism of Culture and in recent years has  developed independent research and curatorial work, as well as educational projects articulated with visual arts. Lira has participated in more than seven collectives for two decades. She is the head of the educational projects Visual Cities, Entre-Frestas and Possible Circuits, the latter related to the elaboration of photo-books and photo-zines. She received the 2015 Funarte Arte Contemporânea Award for the Non-Dito exhibition, which was presented at MABEU / CCBEU in Belém do Pará (2017) and at Capibaribe Centro da Imagem, in Recife (2015). She is the author of the book Voto, published by Pingado Prés, in 2014 (1ª ed.) and 2015 (2ª ed.). The book is part now of the São Paulo Pinacoteca collection and also of the Museum of UFPA Photo-book Collection. She is also a researcher in audiovisual projects – currently Lira is doing a research for the Terrane project, a visual narrative about women working in construction in the Brazilian semi-arid region, an experience related to the Casa da Mulher do Nordeste  (“Northeast Women’s House”). During her residency at Despina, Ana investigated the relationships between invisibility and power, through the mapping of knowledge and the sharing of information-culture which does not pass through large communication circuits. She also coordinated the workshop “On an Insurgent Feel”.


Danitza Luna is a Bolivian cartoonist and graphic designer who lives and works in La Paz. Graduated in Visual Arts from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, specializing in sculpture. Since 2011, she has been part of the anarcho-feminist movement “Mujeres Creando”, one of the most important and influential political platforms in the country, which develops artistic intervention and performance projects in public spaces, as well as art and screen printing workshops and educational programs in universities and women’s unions. Amongst the recent exhibitions she participated as part of “Mujeres Creando”, we highlight:  “Muros Blandos”, held at the Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum in Santiago de Chile (2017), where she developed, alongside artists and activists Esther Angollo and Maria Galindo, a series of provocative and ironic murals that brought the attention to some political and religious controversies around the discussions on gender identity. In 2016, she developed (also with Esther and Maria) a commissioned work for the Bolivian International Biennial of Arts –  the public intervention projects “Altar Blasfemo” and “Escudo Anarco-Feminista Antichauvinista”, which took place on the external wall of the National Museum of Art City of La Paz. In 2015, she participated in the Medellin International Art Meeting – “Historias Locales / Prácticas Globales”, in Colombia, where she coordinated with other members of the collective the screen printing workshop  “Grafica Feminista, No acepto ser cosificada” in the Muesu of Antioquia. The results of this experiment were displayed on a public mural in the streets of Medellin. During her residency in Rio de Janeiro, Luna coordinated a “Feminist Graphic Workshop”, which took place at Despina on 7 different dates during the months of May and June. The results of these meetings were compiled into a publication distributed free of charge for the public.

felipe_inner4Felipe Rivas San Martín is a Chilean artist living and working in Valencia, Spain, where he is a fellowship PhD student at the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) – Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). He holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Arts from the University of Chile. His practice includes painting, drawing, performance, video and it’s related to technological image (virtual interfaces, digital codecs). He is the co-founder of the Sexual Dissidence Student Collective (CUDS), and has been participating in this activism platform since 2002. He also directed the magazines “Torcida” (2005) – about culture and queer criticism, and Disidenciasexual.cl (2009). Rivas links activism and artistic production with research, text and curatorship in relation to arts, politics and technologies, queer theory, post-feminism and performativity. During his residence in Rio de Janeiro, Felipe will present questions that go through his research, such as the disciplinary and control technologies to which homosexual bodies are subjected. In order to do so, he intends to use as an initial focus the case of the homosexuals of Rio de Janeiro in the 30’s of last century, when they served as object of study for the book “Homosexuality and Endocrinology” (Leonidio Ribeiro, 1938). These techniques have been updated with the new data logic and computational algorithms, including projects that aim to identify the sexual orientation of people based on biometric and algorithmic analyzes. The notion of “data” has a double meaning: on the one hand, it refers to the data, that is, to the phenomenon of “computerization of sexuality”. On the other hand, “data” refers to time (“Date” means “Data” in Portuguese). According to Felipe, these technologies of power go beyond time, and force activism to think about the timing of struggles. Hence arises his proposal of a “QueerRetrofuturism” as a methodology to address these problems of current activism alongside the technologies of power. “QueerRetrofuturism” intends to project the future of power and of the “maricas” struggles, through a look on the past of confrontations and experiences of violence.


PICTURES GALLERY 1 (horizontal scrolling)
Residency programme, meetings, talks, seminars, workhops, etc.
Photos by Frederico Pellachin

PICTURES GALLERY 2 (horizontal scrolling)
“Strange Night: Care, Coexistence, Agency”
Photos by Denise Adams

PICTURES GALLERY 3 (horizontal scrolling)
Exhibition “Dissent and destruction” 
Photos by Denise Adams and Frederico Pellachin



Project conception & coordenation
Consuelo Bassanesi

Theme conception & development
Consuelo Bassanesi e Guilherme Altmayer

Curatorial Support
Bernardo José de Souza, Guilherme Altmayer, Guilherme Marcondes e Leno Veras

Production, Communication & Documentation
Frederico Pellachin

Financial & Legal Management
Clarice Goulart Correa

Production Assistant
Pablo Ferretti

Selection Committee (Residency Programme)
Consuelo Bassanesi, Bernardo José de Souza, Pablo León de la Barra

Strange Night (Curatorial Team)
Gabe Passareli, Marta Supernova, Clarissa Ribeiro, Lorran Dias

Graphic Design and Logo (publication)
Pablo Ugá

Photos (performances and openings)
Denise Adams

Thanks to
Aldo Victorio Filho, Alexandre R. de Oliveira, Alexandre Sá, Bertan Selim, Coletivo Corpo-Terra, Denise Espirito Santo, Luciana Ramos-Silva, Renata Codagan, PUC-RJ, Prince Claus Fund, Sandra Benites.



British Council Exchange Programme

2017 - 2018

A collaboration project between Despina and The Fruitmarket Gallery (located in Edinburgh, United Kingdom) was selected to participate in British Council‘s Exchange Programme in 2017-2018.

This programme has been designed by the British Council to build up connections between museums, cultural institutions and creative universities in Brazil and the UK. It encourages collaboration through the exchange of knowledge and best practice for the development of the cultural sector by providing resources for institutions to foster the capacity of staff and increase cross-cultural understanding, resulting in partnerships.

The British Council looked for candidates interested in the mutual exchange of professionals from institutions in Brazil and in the United Kingdom, allowing those selected to develop a residence with the partner institution or university for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of one month. More than twelve collaborative projects were contemplated; find out more about the other organizations selected.


The Fruitmarket Gallery > Despina

The first part of the exchange took place in September 2017 with the arrival of Iain Morrison in Rio de Janeiro. Iain is the  entrepreneurship manager at The Fruitmarket Gallery. He is responsible for the business activity and for the multi-platform actions of the institution. During his time in Rio de Janeiro, Iain followed practically all the activities at Despina, especially the Art and Activism project in Latin America, which is supported by the Prince Claus Fund. At this point, the interest of The Fruitmarket Gallery emerges in sharing their experiences in the art and politics sphere, identifying ways in which we receive marginalized publics (migrants, LGBT population, etc.) and how we respond to their expectations. In this sense, Iain’s daily life at Despina was extremely relevant to his understanding of the current Brazilian political context, with reference to the city’s independent art circuit.

Iain also visited other institutions and art spaces in Rio de Janeiro, such as: Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (MAC), Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Parque Lage Visual Arts School,  ArtRio International Fair– Marina da Glória, Athena Contemporânea, Casa Museu Eva Klabin, Solar dos Abacaxis, FOZ Project, Nara Roesler Gallery, Fabrica Behring, A Gentil Carioca Gallery, Capacete Residency, Galpão Bela Maré and Carpintaria Gallery. Iain also visited studio spaces of important local artists – Laura Lima, Cadu, Marcos Chaves, Carlos Zilio – and participated in meetings with curators – Pablo Leon de la Barra (MAC), Pablo Lafuente (former São Paulo Biennial), Bernardo José de Souza (Iberê Camargo Foundation, Porto Alegre), Ulisses Carrilho (Parque Lage Visual Arts School), Luiza Mello (Galpão Bela Maré) and Julia Baker (MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio).

During Iain’s last week in Rio, a special night of talks took place at Despina, with the participation of curator Victor Gorgulho and artist Cristiano Lenhardt. During the event, Iain led a formal presentation of The Fruitmarket Gallery and shared their experience in organizing live events that take place around the institution’s exhibition projects. He also spoke about his particular interest in our Art and Activism project in Latin America, as well as his experience with the British Council Exchange Program. In the end, he recited a poem. Iain trained as a musician and is a poet; he is currently writing a series drawn from talks in art galleries that responds to the way we group around and learn through participation in the life of a venue. With this project, he is currently Writer in Residence at University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery.


Pictures Gallery (horizontal scrolling)



Despina > The Fruitmarket Gallery

The second part of the exchange took place in December 2017. This time, Despina’s director Consuelo Bassanesi visited The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. Her participation met two fronts of interest: (1) immersion in the functioning and concept of The Fruitmarket Gallery, with conversations about possible partnerships and (2) understanding of the Scottish cultural and artistic scene, especially that related to independent or managed-by-artists spaces. A series of visits to independent spaces, galleries and institutions was held during the stay in Edinburgh. In addition to the visits, it was also part of the programme the witnessing of the day-to-day and the dynamics of The Fruitmarket Gallery.

Exchanges and meetings are very important for Despina and they surely enhance the network that is created, in the bridges between places and initiatives that remain as possible partners and collaborators beyond the time of the exchange. A lot of networking is done within the independent scenario and broadening connections is essential to Despina’s spirit.

Pictures Gallery (horizontal scrolling)

Art and Activism in Latin America – year II (2017)

Year II - 2017

ART AND ACTIVISM IN LATIN AMERICA is a project conceived by Despina, with the support from the Dutch organization Prince Claus Fund. The project extended for three years (2016, 2017 and 2018). Each year, a theme guided a series of actions and events, including occupations, workshops, talks, film screenings, exhibitions, public talks with important names from the contemporary artistic + activist thought and a residency programme. For this second edition, the theme was Body.


Theme’s presentation
by Bernardo José de Souza e Consuelo Bassanesi

Simultaneously the body constitutes the essential instance of our relationship with nature and the possibility to transcend it, moving towards what Western civilizations understand as the cultural sphere or second nature. On the other hand, this same body (to be clear, body = body + mind) is always reminding us of its organic and perishable condition, even though our intelligence and ability to overcome limits imposed by biology have led us to invest it with both symbolic qualities and political and moral predicates, as well as attributes external to our initial constitution, namely, a set of technologies that seem to emancipate us – that is to say, only partially – from our undeniable animal nature.

Throughout history, the marks of many successive battles between mankind, as well as between mankind and nature, have been inscribed in bodies and biographies. But from this basic unity of contact with the world, other forms of articulation of the human species followed, advanced structures in our relationships with each other and with the environment in which we managed to develop: groups, tribes, societies and civilizations emerged to form a larger body, able to address a series of challenges posed by the fear and risk of death and extinction.

Then at a certain point in the process of civilization, mankind understood that it could subordinate other men through the power of State, established by the then unequal power relations that would no longer be removed during the course of our journey on this planet. In the wake of these “achievements”, there were many peoples, races, genders and cultures who were subjugated by certain groups in an effort to achieve greater levels of power. And so we arrive at the present stage, when the architecture of human relations disobeys the laws of civility that have been supposedly achieved, bringing us, in reverse gear, to the times when we lived as barbarians, subject to the law of the strongest, captured by the sagacious and insidious instances of biopower.

The body was domesticated. Culture, religion, morality, politics, successive colonizations, gender-norms, prisons and asylums, psychiatry, fashion, cosmetic medicine, virtual makeovers and perfumery alike, have long been determining how the body should be or behave. This body, as a rule, appears as male, white, western, productive, reproductive, efficient, and sanitized. And it is this same body that produces and builds these totalizing historical narratives. The remaining bodies are reduced, repressed, marginalized, criminalized. Those who are born in this ideal body are few, many try to fit in, and there are also those who expose their unconventional bodies in a head on, open and radical manner.

In a world where morality and politics are increasingly linked, what we propose is to shed light on these radical bodies: the black, queer, transgressor, political, feminist, libertarian, dirty, dissident, immoral, perverted, modified, non-binary body. Bodies that are powerful and assertive. Bodies that resist.

We are looking for bodies and rebellious minds that, by not being subject to the domination of devices built throughout history, carry a dynamic and disruptive force capable of unsettling the established structures of control and subordination through micropolitical resistance. We are looking for subject-bodies so that new – more democratic, multicultural and transgressive – narratives are spread, amplified and therefore heard.




May 2 to June 30
“The body is present” – studio occupation with artists Lyz Parayzo and Rafael Bqueer.

June 27 / 7pm
Opening of the exhibition: “The bodies are the works”. Curators: Guilherme Altmayer and Pablo León de La Barra. Participants: Andiara Ramos, Ana Matheus Abbade, Anitta Boa Vida, Biancka Fernandes, Bruna Kury, Camila Puni, Carlos Motta, CasaNem, Coletivo Xica Manicongo, Eduardo Kac, Evelyn Gutierrez, Fabiana Faleiros, Fabio Coelho, FROZEN2000, Gabriel Junqueira,  Indianare Siqueira, Katia Flávia, Kleper Reis, Lampião da Esquina, Luana Muniz, Lyz Parayzo, Maurício Magagnin, Mayara Velozo, Matheusa Passareli, Nathalia Gonçales, Odaraya Mello, Raquel Mützenberg, Ricardo Càstro, Tertuliana Lustosa, Turma Ok, Uhura Bqueer, Vagner Coelho, Ventura Profana & Jhonatta Vicente, Victor Arruda, Vinicius Rosa, Vítor Franco, Wescla Vasconcellos e Xanayanna Relux. More information here.


July 1 / 10.30 am
Workshop on basic principles of self-defense based on the Muay Thai technique. With Vagner Coelho and Fabio Coelho (part of “The bodies are the works” exhibition programme).

04 July / 4 pm
Performance: “Maiêutica”, with Raquel Mützenberg at Largo de São Francisco and the SAARA area. Feminine subjectivities: about the capacity to be reborn, to give birth again (part of “The bodies are the works” exhibition programme).

July 4 / 7.30 pm
Despina Cine Club (Post-pornography), curated by Andiara Ramos, Nathalia Gonçales and debate/talk with Kleper Reis and Érica Sarmet (part of “The bodies are the works” exhibition programme).

July 25 / 7 pm
Night of naked bodies: naturism. Despina Cine Club presents “A Nativa Solitária“, a film about Luz del Fuego, with Guilherme Altmayer. Fuxicu and cu yoga, radical freedom with Kleper Reis (part of “The bodies are the works” exhibition programme).

July 27 / 7 pm
NAVALHA: Manicure Show with Ana Matheus Abbade, Uhura BQueer, Vinicius Pinto Rosa, Ventura Profana & Jhonatta Vicente, Frozen 2000, Gabriel Junqueira, Ricardo Càstro  (part of “The bodies are the works” exhibition programme).


August 1 to September 30
Residency Programme – selected artists for this edition: Carlos Martiel, Cristiano Lenhardt and Mariela Scafati.

August 4 / 8 pm
End of exhibition “The bodies are the works”: meeting with artists and march to “Turma OK” club – a night of bingo and performances with “the best of the house” in honor of Luana Muniz.

August 8 / 7 pm
Undoing queer caravel in the afterlife of colonialism
Public talk with Jota Mombaça. Find out here more information.

August 15 / 7 pm
“Becoming a body”
Public talk with Marta Dillon. Find out here more information.

August 22 / 7 pm
Public talk with artists in residency Carlos Martiel, Cristiano Lenhardt and Mariela Scafati + performance “Lamento Kayapó”, with Cuban artist Carlos Martiel.

August 26 and September 2
Talk, Listen & Exchange Circuit. Full programme here.

September 13 / 5 – 7 pm
“QueerCuirKuir” – screenprinting workshop with artist in residency Mariela Scafati.

September 14 / 7 pm
Despina Cine Club curated by Cinema KUIR.

September 21 / 7 pm
Opening of the exhibition “This same body“. More information here.

September 26 / 7 pm
“Bala Perdida”,
performance with Cuban artist Carlos Martiel in the city centre of Rio de Janeiro.

September 26 / 7 pm
“Imagens Insubordináveis”
. Public talk with artist Cristiano Lenhardt and curator Victor Gorgulho.


October 5 and October 19 / 7 pm
Despina Cine Club curated by Cinema KUIR.



carlos_martielCarlos Martiel (born 1989, Havana, Cuba). He lives and works in New York and Havana. He graduated in 2009 from the National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro,” in Havana. Between the years 2008-2010, he studied in the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, directed by the artist Tania Bruguera. Martiel is known for his visceral political performances that offer critique on contemporary issues associated with his country of origin and abroad. His work addresses topics of injustice, repression, discrimination, censorship and immigration. Martiel uses his body as a site for discourse, reflecting on the relations of power and social context.

Martiel’s works have been included in: 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Casablanca Biennale, Casablanca, Morocco; Biennial “La Otra”, Bogotá, Colombia; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Pontevedra Biennial, Galicia, Spain; Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba. He has had performances at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), Houston, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Zulia (MACZUL), Maracaibo, Venezuela; Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA; Nitsch Museum, Naples, Italy. He has received several awards, including the Franklin Furnace Fund in New York, USA, 2016; “CIFOS Grants & Commissions Program Award” in Miami, USA, 2014; “Arte Laguna” in Venice, Italy, 2013. His work has been exhibited at The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, USA; Zisa Zona Arti Contemporanee (ZAC), Palermo, Italy; Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, USA; Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece; National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba; Tornielli Museum, Ameno, Italy; Estonian Museum of Art and Design,Tallinn, Estonia; Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, Argentina; among others.



Mariela Scafati (born 1973, Olivos, Argentina) lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Studied Visual Arts at E.S.A.V. de Bahía Blanca and attended the workshops of Tulio de Sagastizábal, Pablo Suárez and Guillermo Kuitca. She is considered one of the most important Argentinian artists of her generation and her work is part of important collections, such as the permanent collection of the MALBA (Museu de Arte Latino-Americana de Buenos Aires). Since 2010, Scafati is an agent of the C.I.A – Center for Artistic Research.

In 1998, she participated in the group exhibition “Tres Paredes”. In 2000, she had her first solo show “Pinturas y pared”. After then, “Show Me Your Pink (2001)”, at Bis Gallery, Rosario, Santa Fé; “He venido para decirte que me voy” (2001), at Belleza y Felicidad Gallery, Buenos Aires; “Pintura gustosa” (2001), at Casona de Los Olivera, Buenos Aires; “Mariam Traoré” (2004), at Belleza y Felicidad Gallery, Buenos Aires; “Scafati, un cuadro” (2005), at Belleza y Felicidad Gallery, Buenos Aires; “Sos un sueño” (2009), at Abate Gallery, Buenos Aires; “¡Teléfono! en diálogo con Lidy Prati” (2009), at CCBorges, Buenos Aires; “Windows” (2011), at Abate Gallery, Buenos Aires; “Ni verdaderas ni falsas” (2013), at Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Buenos Aires; “Pinturas donde estoy 1998-2013”, at CCRecoleta, Buenos Aires;  “Las palabras vienen después” (2014) at Maria Casado Home Gallery, Buenos Aires and “Las cosas amantes” (2015), alongside Ariadna Pastorini, at Isla Flotante Gallery, Buenos Aires. Later this year, she will be presenting a single project at Art Basel, in Miami (USA).

Scafati has also participated in various collective and collaborative projects linked to screen printing, education, radio and theater. In 2002, she co-founded the T.P.S.* – “Taller Popular Serigrafía”. Since 2007, she has been a member of “Serigrafistas Queer” **.  She was part of the Belleza y Felicidad team, founder of the Proyecto Secundario Liliana Maresca, at the Escuela Secundaria Nº349 Artes Visuales, Fiorito, Lomas de Zamora. She has also coordinated a serigraphy workshop for the Cooperativa y Editorial Eloísa Cartonera and participated in several interventions of the “Brigada Argentina por Dilma”, with Roberto Jacoby, at the Sao Paulo Art Biennial in 2009.

Among her experiences linked to theater are the series of Kamishibai, Yotiteretú and a company of puppets with Fernanda Laguna; and her work in stage scenery for the biodramas directed by Vivi Tellas, at the Museo de la paloma y Las personas, with workers of the Theater San Martin (2014).

* The “Taller Popular Serigrafía” (TPS) operated in Buenos Aires between 2002 and 2007, founded by Scafati and other artists in one of the many popular assemblies that emerged from the December 2001 popular revolt / insurrection. From that moment, the collective intervened in the context of social movements, taking the workshop to the street and socializing the process of graphic production, stamping all kinds of clothing with images that tried to testify the political mood of each event.

** “Serigrafistas Queer” (SQ), self-perceived as a non-group, was born in 2007 and has been helding periodic meetings where slogans are discussed and screenprints and stencils are assembled for multiple prints to be used in the LGBT Pride March, held annually in different cities in Argentina. The material produced is kept and freely used again in other actions.



Cristiano Lenhardt (born 1975, Itaara, Rio Grande do Sul) lives and works in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. Graduated in Fine Arts from Santa Maria Federal University (1996-2000), he participated in the Torreão Artistic Orientation in Porto Alegre from 2001 to 2003. Among his solo exhibitions, we highlight: “O habitante do plano para fora” (2015 ) and “Litomorfose”  (2014), at Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel Gallery, in São Paulo; “Matéria Superordiária Abundante” (2014) and “Planalto” (2013), at Amparo 60 Gallery, in Recife; Naifs Biennial of Brazil (2016); 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016); “Cruzamentos”, at Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio / USA (2014); Rumos Visuais Itaú Cultural, São Paulo (2012); Mythologies – cite Internationale des Arts, Paris (2011).

He has received several national awards, among them: Bolsa Iberê Camargo – Artists Program Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, 2011; “Projectile” – Prize for Contemporary Art, Funarte, Rio de Janeiro (2008); Videoart Contest Pize, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife (2007); SPA das Artes, Recife (2007 and 2004); 26th Salão de Artes Plásticas de Pernambuco (2006), among others. He also participated in artistic residencies in important spaces and institutions around the world, such as Phosphorus, in São Paulo (2013); Gasworks in London, UK (2013) and Made in Mirrors Foundation, in Guangzhou, China (2011).

Lenhardt’s artistic practice functions as an illusory game between the two-dimensional plane and the three-dimensional space. From videos, performances, observations, photographs, drawings and engravings, the artist seeks in ordinary and mundane reality tools to build a work that happens by attraction and transformation of materials and symbols.


PICTURES GALLERY (horizontal scrolling)
photos by Denise Adams, Frederico Pellachin and Raquel Romero-Faz


Project conception & coordenation
Consuelo Bassanesi

Theme conception & development
Consuelo Bassanesi e Bernardo José de Souza

Curatorial Support
Bernardo José de Souza e Pablo León de la Barra

Production, Communication & Documentation
Frederico Pellachin

Financial & Legal Management
Clarice Goulart Correa

Production Assistant
Pablo Ferretti

Selection Committee (Residency Programme)
Consuelo Bassanesi, Bernardo José de Souza e Pablo León de la Barra

Graphic Design and Logo
Pablo Ugá

Photos (performances and openings)
Denise Adams, Vinícius Nascimento e Raquel Romero-Faz.

“The bodies are the works” (curators)
Guilherme Altmayer e Pablo León de la Barra

Thanks to
Alexandre Rodolfo de Oliveira, Alexandre Sá, Ana Matheus Abbade, Bertan Selim, Bianca Bernardo, Eduardo Montelli, Laura Lima, Marcelo Velloso, Prince Claus Fund, Raphael Fonseca.