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A major new program of work by the (UK-based) Italian inter-disciplinary artist Marina Moreno, informed by her experiences at Rio Carnival and in lockdown in the UK, will be curated by Camilla Boemio.

Sub-heading:   Moving Sculptures. - An invitation to connect - How art can lead the way through the lockdown.

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Moreno’s practice fuses movement, dance, and the visual aspects of theatre and lives art to encourage deep personal exploration and a shared commitment to social change.   Her new work will invite people to explore movement as a universal language that embodies our experiences, aspirations, and beliefs. Her participatory installations will seek to highlight social justice by using movement to explore the way we relate to each other and the physical and mental space we inhabit.

Moreno’s work has become increasingly focused on using participatory methods to challenge artistic and social elites and examine social justice but she has become deeply unsatisfied by the very temporary, project-based culture of some participatory arts in the UK.  This led her to seek out examples of arts organizations that had achieved lasting change amongst the most deprived communities. Her research (funded by Arts Council Of England) took her to Brazil and the world-renowned Spectaculu School of Art and Technology. She was invited by Wallace Cardia to meet with the school’s founder artist and director Gringo Cardia and to spend time with the students. She also had the opportunity of participating in the opening of the school where she met the artist Vik Muniz.

Moreno performed in front of thousands at the Rio Carnival with the Sossego school of Samba. In Brazil, she explored how to bring together her passion for combining the visual and theatrical elements of dance with a deep commitment to tackling injustice through egalitarian participation in the arts. 

Moreno was very impressed with the school’s long-term strategic approach to tackling poverty. The school selects the poorest, most enthusiastic applicants - as Cardia says: ‘We all have talent, we just have to find our talent” - and provides a grant to provide some financial security to the student and their families.  “Students then spend six months exploring art as a way of seeing the world in a different way” and six months focussing focus heavily on practical technical skills. The school also offers long-term support to their alumni, helping them get and maintain work in the industry.  This experience has inspired her to develop the new Marina Moreno Arts Lab, to establish long-term relationships with artists and groups like Bristol’s Diverse Artists Network and find new ways to bring artists and audiences together to create new work for an international audience.

“Performing in the Carnival parade as part of a Samba school was a surreal experience.  I saw how Carnival brought a fresh breath of equality and humanity to a society deeply divided in both class and race”. She felt a total connection. “ It was as if there were invisible ties between audience and performers. They all shared a common language of dance, art, sculpture, costumes to produce large, moving installations. The sexual energy that prevailed gave expressions to all genders and identities enabling both a joy of life and a recognition of differences”. She notes that the very essence of the carnival is this feeling of togetherness of expression of differences through the communities we share and came back determined to bring this deeper sensation of connectivity into her new work.

“Coming back to the UK, and into lock-down presented a whole new set of challenges that at first seemed at odds to my experiences amongst the crowds in Brazil.” However, Moreno, like many people, recognizes how sharing a difficult moment has changed our individual perspective and brought us all together. She believes that it is the role of the artist to lead the way out of this crisis and is delighted to be working with a renowned curator, Camilla Boemio to make this vision a reality.

She is now working on a series of new choreographic components of sculptural dances that will be presented both online and in physical space so that disconnected movements of different people and artists will connect together to express interior feelings and identities.

Bio:

Marina Moreno is an international exhibited interdisciplinary artist that has worked as director, producer, curator. She produces innovative and experimental artwork that has direct interaction with the audience, through different media such as Installation, Live Art, Video, Sculpture, Photography, Film, Dance, and Visual Theatre.

Camilla Boemio is an art writer, curator, and university consultant whose practice deals with investigating the politics of participation in curatorial practices, the intersection of culture and contemporary aesthetics. She earned her Ph.D. at UNIMC, Italy (2001). She is a member of AICA (International Association of Arts Critics).

Spectaculu is a not-for-profit school based in the Port area of Rio de Janeiro since 1999. The organization offers professional training in the areas of entertainment, art, technology, and the creative industries for underprivileged young people (17-21-year-old) from the state school system who are residents of socially vulnerable and economically under-developed neighborhoods of the Greater Metropolitan district of Rio de Janeiro.

Diverse Artists Network is a Bristol (UK) based organization that engages with artists, arts organizations and policymakers to influence and raise the profile of under-represented groups by developing opportunities to connect, collaborate engage and empower.

The Marina Moreno Arts Lab is an Arts Council England funded project to produce new experimental, interdisciplinary artwork that enables local people and artists to collaborate on projects and exhibitions at local, national, and international levels.  We will adopt new creative methodologies to bring together audiences, participants, and artists to engage with universal themes of power, justice, freedom, and oppression, with each individual’s unique contribution helping shape a collaborative vision.

Supporting by: Arts Council England (ACE)