I think I’m a verb.
I was not born an artist like “everybody else”. I am becoming an artist everyday through my connections, interconnections, and misconnections with my physical world(s). The dirty and noisy streets of São Paulo, the uncomfortable–comfortable Canadian way of life, and the struggles of the social movements in Latin America inform my art education practices. They are my mentors. My funny accent is from the same place I was born and raised, Brasil (with s). For the last 13 years, I’ve been exploring popular art as a tool in/for social change. Recently, I have been working with women and men from the recycling social movement in São Paulo, creating artworks that incorporate recyclable materials and exploring all the politics and the learning that goes on in the process of art making. I am an active member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Victoria, where I teach courses on digital art, design, and visual thinking. I am currently working on my SSHRC funded postdoctoral research where I investigate the nonverbal ways in which children with hearing loss access ideas and develop their understanding of 3D objects in art and mathematic classes. In addition, I hold a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Studies (Education–Cultural Geography–Visual Arts).
In my SSHRC funded Ph.D. research, titled: “The heART of Social Movements and Learning” was funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and IDRC (International Development Research Centre), in which I combined arts-based methodologies and popular education to trouble discrimination suffered by recyclers in both Canada and Brazil. More specifically, by working with recyclers to create a mobile art exhibit I am: (a) monitor individual and community empowerment as an outcome of such art creation and exhibition; (b) evaluating the effectiveness of art projects to alleviate stigmatization experienced by recyclers; (c) determining whether using art as a communication tool leads to enhanced participatory policy-making processes. My research happens in the context of the Participatory Sustainable Waste Management (PSWM), which is an interdisciplinary partnership between Canada (University of Victoria) and Brazil (Universidade de São Paulo). The PSWM is a project funded by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) that was designed to empower and strengthen recycling co-operatives, and promote social inclusion of recyclers in urban areas of Brazil.
As an art educator, I am honored to be involved as co-director of Tumbleweeds Theatre Company and Acting School. Tumbleweeds is a non profit community theatre school where we work collaboratively with youth from all ages to create and perform meaningful plays with and for our local community. Our big productions so far have been: (a) The Shadows Project, which is an interdisciplinary art creation of lights, shadows, puppets, and silhouette. The Shadows bring together youth from different backgrounds through creative storytelling and community partnerships that mediates knowing and learning of Canadian history. And (b) Peter Pan in which I played Peter Pan’s shadow.
In the past, I have co-facilitated an arts program (drawing and painting) at the Mosaic Learning Society. There, I have had the honour of meeting brilliant youth from different spectrum of autism. I’ve learned so much from them.
Lately however, I have dedicated most of my free time to the visual arts. Using acrylics, oils, spray and recyclable materials I have been exploring the magical world of contemporary expressionism and abstracts. I also have been facilitating numerous arts-based workshops in both Canada and Brazil.