Botany #7 (2012 – 2014)
Wood table, 15 digital photographs, wood and metal frames
100 x 100 x 120 cm

In this series of works entitled “Botany” (2012), Vasco Araújo (b. 1975, Lisbon) takes up a recurrent subject of his work – colonialism, in the broadest sense – that allows him to discuss and deconstruct the individual and collective identity.

Through photographs of tropical plants embedded in wooden tables, this work challenges and openly criticizes that institutional relationships and sexual relations were inextricably linked in the power exerted by Western nations in their settlements. This relationship is evident on other images also present, but distinguished by its silver frame, of soldiers touching the breasts of African women, photographed or explorers with pygmies or photographs or Village Nhrou ethnographic exhibitions taking place in the West the late 19th and early 20th century, named Humains Zoo. These exhibitions included in exhibitions worldwide, wanted to show indigenous species of colonized countries: Zoology, Botany and Human. In this way, the colonized peoples were not considered as human as Western populations. These fairs served the dominant power to subdue and humiliate their settlers.

However, the artist does not end in a dogmatic proposition. Through the combination of object-table seen as an active device staging of reality and exotic plants found in Western cities, including Lisbon and Coimbra in Portugal, “Botany” becomes an uncomfortable view of current contemporary. The plants (exotic) which penetrate and are rooted in the tables (Western), as if it were a sexual act, reverse the powers of old and annoy more distracted. In fact, much of which identifies as Western culture was rescued from other cultures as inferior in the recent past. This outrage, but omitted and even denied, processing or nationalization of the figure of the “Other” reflects on the cynicism and falsehood that still hangs in our identity.

Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Francisco Fino


















location: “Advance and retreat of globalization” MAIN EXHIBITION,Macao Museum of Art