Davi de Jesus
do Nascimento

o suor da testa mora dentro dos marimbondos  

Curadoria: Júlio Martins

26 de outubro a 08 de dezembro de 2019

Davi de Jesus do Nascimento (1997 – Pirapora, MG) is the “ravine” artist curimatá, “arrimo de muvuca e escritor fiado”. Conceived on the banks of the São Francisco river – the water course of his research – his work involves collecting affections from riverside ancestry, and perceiving the existence of “almost-rivers” in arid lands. One of his greatest interests for the birth into the primary practice of painting is the earth, the original mother. He uses the body as a measurement instrument for the world. Body-medium, confronted and mixed up with nature. An aquatic, muddy and silent nature that can be read as a bait, fish, or stone. 


The exhibition “o suor da testa mora dentro dos marimbondos” presents the latest works of “ravine” artist curimatá – Davi de Jesus do Nascimento. Born in the north of Minas Gerais, in the city of Pirapora, and conceived on the banks of the São Francisco River, the water course of his life and of his artistic research as well, Davi places his performance works, family photographs and image collection, appropriated and re-enchanted objects, muddy water drawings and video works in the river landscape of his origins. Sensible to “the groanings of the wrecked ship figureheads and the warning cries of the surubim catfish and opossums”, he rebuilds daily, mythical and sacred elements of the Sanfranciscan waters in his works. The artist recognizes “dense nostalgia and ancestry” in the river currents, intimately linking his river-based family memories to the flow of river-time, “through the trembling rise of the illness of rivers”, as he relates his mother’s death by drowning to the agonizing situation of the São Francisco river (The bridge has fallen down. Find your way around. Swim across it – exorcism of pain).  

For months Davi has carried with himself, “on the hunch of his back”, a huge 20-kilo figurehead, one of those we’d commonly find at the prow of boats in his native land in the 19th century and that protect and open the ways for the sailing canoes. Stemming from a family of figurehead masters, Davi, through this gesture, shows the desire of keeping himself anchored in the thick waters of the river, and honoring the “ravine” culture that forges and feeds his being: “Through my art work, I’ve promised life to the Sanfranciscan waters”. 

Thus, his oratories are made of boat prows built by his father, raised on the floor of the exhibition space and ornamented with vestiges of his community’s soil moisture, the juiciness of tamarinds, the stench of slimy fish scales, wet carrion, the currents and the “secret waters” that hide in themselves oratories. Some parts of the bow of the same boats are put together, under a mosquito net veil, and turn into a “bed” – a word, once again, intimately shared by the river and the artist’s body (coffin).

In “pesca-ameaça de naugrágio da barca” or “ensaio para morrer com o Rio”, Davi’s action narrates an inside out birth or baptism, for the artist is fished out of the water and brought onto the canoe by his father, as if in a mythical statement in which genesis and death are dissolved, indistinct. For Davi, “it is important to make it clear that rivers never die. And that they will take revenge. The São Francisco river – the one over which I won’t tire myself of brooding in my sayings and that I still have by my side, in the backyard in which I was born, I grew up, and about which I catch myself thinking all the time – gradually turns into a giant water course of strong pepper that bathes the eyes of those who kill it. I burningly blind my enemies’ path as they bathe themselves. I turn into an anaconda so as to destroy their houses”.


Júlio Martins, curador. 

Map and captions 

of the works:

1) “visiting is only good on the first three days. after that the fish will stink” 

printed carpet, 2024

2) “wake-up call”

a letter from the river to the riverside population found in my mother’s documents together with my navel wrapped in gauze, printed newspaper, 33x24 cm, 2000

3) “the bridge has fallen down. find you way around and swim across it”

exorcism of pain, a reminder and a photograph found inside a fragment of the album, 33x26 cm, 2013-18. work done a few days after my mother’s death.

4) “oratory I”

a fragment of a vessel built by my father, object of secret waters, 300x80x40 cm, 100kg, 1998-2019

5) “oratory II”

a fragment of a vessel built by my father, object of secret waters, 300x80x40 cm, 100kg, 1998-2019

6) “coffin” or “silencer of midges”

fragments of vessels built by my father featuring a mosquito net, object of kept waters, 215kg, 1998-2003-2019

7) “sharp talk”

audio of my great-grandmother Francisca, 33 seconds, 2019

8) “fish with manioc flour thickened broth and pepper”

VHS video footage from the family collection, 3’57’’, 2001

9, 10, 11 – “the current wanders silences”
ravine waters, 55x37 cm, 2019

12) “fishing-threat of boat wreck or rehearsing to die with the river”

a net ritual for fish bone choke, photographs, 40x60 cm, 2016. Credit: Bicho Carranca

13) “cuddle boat flooder” or “anti-groaning of wrecked figureheads”

object of secret waters, an opossum’s head fixed to an anchor rope, 40x42x6 cm, 2017-18

14) “body-vessel”

analog photograph, 23x17 cm, 2019. credit: Alexandre Lopes