Argentinian Gabriel Chaile’s artistic practice is based on a long-standing investigation of impoverished communities, rituals and habits from his home in Argentina. Raised in the northern Argentine city of San Miguel de Tucumán, with Spanish, Afro-Arab and indigenous Candelaria heritage, Chaile creates spaces where historical precedents, indigenous epistemologies and prescient craft conventions mingle with contemporary life.

Much of his recent production includes sculptural objects such as clay pots and ovens, which often take on anthropomorphic traits. In this way, the artist seeks to invoke the memory of people and landmarks of civil resistance from the community rituals and celebrations around food – in its ancestral wisdom and know-how, in its healing dimension and, finally, in its multi-function of nourishing the body, soul and spirits.

At the invitation of BoCA, Gabriel Chaile is creating a new installation for MAAT’s Coal Square – a tribute to Alcindo Monteiro, a young Portuguese man born in Cape Verde who was brutally murdered in 1995 in a crime that exposed, and continues to expose, the structural racism that finds space and legitimation in the country. Around Alcindo’s oven-portrait, a series of collective activations are planned, on four dates, around food, debates, music and film screenings. In a meticulous composition of this moment of encounter – of places, times and identities – filled with warmth and belonging, Chaile places his sculpture “Auto- Retrato” (Self-Portrait) face to face with the “Alcindo Monteiro” kiln, in an effort to involve his own body in this exchange of glances and stories, with honesty and empathy. “What if the autobiographical is not more than the story of others passing through us?” asks Chaile.

Commission and production: BoCA – Biennial of Contemporary Arts
Curator: John Romão
 MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology
Support to the public program : Lisboa Criola

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