Brazilian artist, Rimon, has travelled to places like Gambia and Syria, using street art to connect with communities and help develop educational programs through the Conexus Project.
With his upcoming show in London at Maze Gallery, he took some time out to talk to us about himself, the Conexus Project and his artwork.
When did you start painting?
I started around 2004 when I participated in my first collective exhibition. I did do the occasional painting before that but the first of my artistic expressions came from the drawing.
Why do you paint?
I paint because it’s a way of expressing myself, to feel closer to the people and feel like I can change the environment in which I live.
Where did the idea behind Conexus Project come from?
Conexus Project is an initiative of producer Sheila Zago. It’s a collective nomadic contemporary art project that travels around the world promoting artists and developing educational programs.
Tell us more about the projects you’ve worked on through Conexus Project.
Myself and another artist called Zeh Palito formed a duo called Cosmic Boys and most recently we worked on a project called Cosmic Future in the Middle East. We went to the Lebanese border with Syria in Beqaa where we painted the walls of a school in the refugee camp and we did a painting work shop with the children there.
Afterwards we went to Damascus, Syria and painted the largest mural in the city. It measured 260 square metres and was created with the interaction and help of the local children.
Tell us about the time you’ve spent painting in the Middle East with refugees.
It was a very rich and very strong experience, I learned a lot as a human being. I saw that in situations of extreme risk and abandonment, people do not lose the joy of living and this was a milestone in my life and a lesson of humanity.
What made you choose to paint in the style you use?
I did not choose it, it just happened organically. I believe the streets, the places, the history of art in the world and my roots directed me towards this style.
How do you choose the subject matter of your work?
I open a space for improvisation, I try not to rationalise too much and I paint what I’m feeling in that moment. Often my work reflects what the world is also going through in that moment of time.
Who and/or what influences your work?
Many aspects from the history of art influences my work, but I really like naive Brazilian art, Indigenous art and children’s drawings. I’m also drawn to the organic forms of nature and the many human ethnic groups and cultures.
What’s been the highlight of your painting career so far?
To me, all m projects are important, the projects in the interior of Brazil, my work in Gambia and this year in the Middle East. Up until my Syria project I had never painted in a war torn country and perhaps this was my highlight.
What are your thoughts on street art entering the art gallery?
Art exists independent of the medium, in pre-history they made art in the caves. Art is powerful tool to transit in many means and I don’t like classifications. For me, the more people of different social class and backgrounds that are affected by my work, the better!
Tell us about your upcoming London show.
“Diaspora” is a solo show at Maze Gallery and it is a compilation of two dozen works on canvas from the most recent years of my production. I’m very happy to be able to show these works in London and as the name of the exhibition describes, this is a dialogue about the spread of culture and an important moment we are currently living in.
I hope many people can check it out! Everyone is welcome between the 19-24 of September at Maze Gallery.
Many thanks to Rimon for taking time to speak with us!