Meeting an artist you’re a fan of is always exciting. We had been following Manuela Navas‘ work on Instagram for some time and were curious to know more about her. 

A couple of weeks ago, we reached out for an interview and were thrilled to find out that she would be in Rio for the opening of her first solo exhibit: O Concreto Que Evapora. 

The art show debuted last Friday (July 22) at Bacorejo, an art gallery located in the heart of the city’s historical center, aimed at showcasing independent talent. Manuela’s is the second exhibit the gallery has hosted. 

Lorraine Mendes, who wrote the Cover Letter for Manuela’s exhibit, highlights her ability to capture sentiment through details and relays her art to poetry. That deeply precise line stood out to us as we read it. 

Dozens of artists and lovers of art attended the opening. As we waited for polaroids to finish developing, Manuela introduced us to Guilherme Kid, another artist we are fans of but hadn’t had the chance to meet in person. 

Manuela lives in Caraguatatuba, a city off the northern coast of the state of São Paulo, and a five hour drive away from Rio. 

Her paintings depict scenes from everyday life: mothers grooming their daughter’s hair, vendors wheeling their carts along the beach, kids riding bikes, women seated at a table having a conversation, men playing cards. Simplicity is how she refers to it. 

Yet there is a striking beauty and tenderness to her art that makes it so vivid. In person, she is kind, gentle and warm – just like her hues. She leans in and listens carefully to what people express to her, genuinely interested in what they have to say. 

Getting to meet artists often allows us to better understand their point of view, providing context to work we feel moved by. We are interested in her story, how it manifests through her work and how it impacts other people. We noticed a great part of our audience deeply relates to Manuela’s art. We asked them to tell us why that was. 

We received an overwhelming amount of responses. They were particularly heartfelt, detailed, and emotional. Some of the most cited feelings were that of a sense of belonging, familiarity, identification and nostalgia. “Happy memories at home”, wrote in a number of readers who had never been to Brazil. 

Manuela had told us earlier that she believed her art spoke to many different people because of its portrayal of ordinary aspects of life for most Brazilians. We wonder if she knows that her work resonates with people from different parts of the world. The universal appeal of nostalgia, of tiny details that bring back a happy memory, a moment in time we remember so vividly.

O Concreto que Evapora can be visited until August 21st at Bacorejo (Rua do Rosário, 38 – Rio de Janeiro).

Bacorejo: Rua do Rosário, 38 – Rio de Janeiro

O concreto que evapora – Manuela Navas

From July 22nd to August 21st

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