Tamires Para: Corpo Bruto
2019 – 2020 Artist-In-Residency Exhibition Project
The Main Gallery, October 16 – November 28, 2020
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, 3rd floor, 10215 – 112 St, Edmonton
Tamires Para’s solo exhibition Corpo Bruto is the culmination of her 2019-2020 artistic residency at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre. In the Brazilian artist’s own words, it is the result of a year’s worth of loss: the death of loved ones, a global pandemic and profound, seemingly unending isolation. There is much to be said about the difficulty of art-making during quarantine and of seeking beauty in ugly times.
This exhibition and artist’s residency at Harcourt House continue Para’s legacy of exploring the relationship between body and psyche: this time focusing on bodies of men – men whose personas only exist digitally, in a self-sealed realm of obsession, violence and loneliness. In her mother language (Portuguese), Bruto means “to be turned rough, to be made violent”. The oil paintings in this exhibition are meant to be eerie, disturbing and ominous, reflective of the effect that radicalization has on men.
During the mandatory self-quarantine period Para had to go through, the artist took upon herself to explore the dark web and a website called Incels.net. The artist had come across Incels – involuntary celibates – from the Toronto episode in 2018: the man responsible for the attack had posted a manifesto on a website called 4chan. Para’s previous experience exploring the relationship between women and their bodies prompted her to wonder if there was a parallel to be made between Incels and women.
Using an anonymous account, the artist began scouring the dark web for posts, stories from MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way) and Incels on these online forums with the objective to better understand their point of view. She silently read and watched the stories develop. Additionally, the artist knew if she interfered and posted content identifying as a woman, she could incur the danger of being doxxed and/or stalked. In the process, Para painstakingly cataloged entries, analyzed the types of wording they used, and compared it to wording women used about their own bodies.
The themes on those entries were clear. They were lonely, desperate, and turned toward themselves, obsessing over their own bodies. The same feeling of not being attractive enough, not getting enough attention, of feeling alone: A plight women have been suffering for an exceedingly long time, and in solitude.
This exhibition is the result of resourceful research and thought process in response to desperate, isolated times. Para crafts the imagery in 3D applications at first, anonymous bodies created digitally, mirroring the environment where Incels feel comfortable sharing their beliefs about the world, women and, most importantly, their own bodies. It is easy to judge this group of men by their beliefs, however Corpo Bruto challenges the viewer to listen and understand before judging and – hopefully – to find common ground, and to start a dialogue. It is a much-needed reminder that empathy must come first, no matter how differently we see the world.
In the times of Trumpism and Third Wave Feminism, we as a society could benefit from research that brings us together instead of pulling us apart.
Tamires Para is a Brazilian-born and Edmonton-based visual artist, designer, and community activist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication Design from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta with major in Painting. Para is also a recipient of numerous awards and scholarships. Her impressive body of work has been presented in several exhibition projects.
Image: Red Pill (detail), 2020, digital collage print, 11 x 14 inch
Courtesy of the Artist