The project, the artist, the team.
Habitathos is an ongoing series of "living art" body painting images completely executed on tile panels from a brazilian modernist artist called Athos Bulcão.
The project was created by Ana Siqueira (pronounced See-'KAY-ra), a daughter of Brasília's cerrado (Brasília being the capital of Brazil, and cerrado it's unique vegetation) - an artist eternally grateful to her city for its stylistic influence upon her.
A little bit about Athos work
Athos is present on the daily life of many world citizens, but in special the citizens from the capital of Brazil, Brasília, that boasts the astonishing number of 261 (so far cataloged) of his art pieces spread throughout the city. These pieces literally dress up the city and can be found in public sites (like schools, churches, theaters, governament buildings, the airport, the university, plazas, parks, museums, etc.) and in private places (like houses, hotels, restaurants, corporation offices and residential buildings).
Although he was a multi-medium artist (doing collages, painting, drawing, sculpting, working with wood and stone) Athos became popular for his use of tiles. When comissioned along with architect Oscar Niemeyer in the late 1950s to integrate with his art the modern architecture of the many buildings of the new capital - Brasília - Athos (who was then only familiar with mosaic work) strategically chose to use tiles, for it was a medium that was of quick installation, durable, did not cost much and would give him creative freedom.
Athos design was not restricted to what goes inside a single tile: With his random disposition of elements he took tile panels to a higher level - where the panel needs to be a whole to make sense and therefore develops a more intimate relationship with the surrounding's design.
With the perfect marriage between Athos Bulcão and the creative style of his colleagues Oscar Niemeyer and Burle Marx (landscape architect), there is a body of work responsible for building an aesthetic identity of their own within the citizens of Brasilia, giving them an urban living experience that is unshared.
The concept is tied around the astonishment that is common on most viewers when subjected to Athos modernists designs.
By joining the overtly simple (geometry, minimalistic shapes and the strict use of basic colors) with the inconspicuous cleverness seen on the arrangement of the tiles - sometimes calculated, other times intuitive - this shy artistic mind created some very intense pieces that continuously show to the beholder beauty in a pure state.
The viewers are constantly intrigued: first-time viewers will stop, take pictures and have an absorbed look on their faces; some panels are very popular as background for people's profile pictures on social networks, enthusiasts order framed tiles to decorate their homes (might even commission a full wall replica), some fans go further and have the designs tattooed on their skin... The style and design speaks something for them, about what they consider beautiful, who they are and where they come from.
"To me, the biggest impact is the symbolic value that people give to art. My personal motivation to start the project was an anthropological curiosity, so I also approach it like it's a study/research in a vague way. The assessment people make of his pieces is a phenomena by itself and I want to listen to their stories and compose something to show this dynamic between people and their death-dumb-and-blind love for art. I had to bring people closer to art so I could have some material and I took that literally: Why not give people an experience that represents exactly what we want when we admire beauty? To have it, to be it, to live on it...Merging and purging through art. Hence the name,'Habitathos'. I guess it's a "hyperbole allegory" about human-art love relationship. It's our humanity's "escapism, transcendence and cure" method of choice and it never ceases to interest me."
The process of choosing the models is crucial in concept, as they were chosen with regards to their narrative and association with Athos and his work.
The technique used to perform Habitathos is the body painting, a segment of make-up artistry (a fact not yet popular in some countries, like Brazil). All around the world, make-up artistry have been developed to a point where make-up became a medium seen inside art galleries and art books.
Born and raised in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, Ana Siqueira wanted to develop her art without loosing touch with her interest in people and their stories. She chose, therefore, to have make-up as her medium, using bodies and faces as canvas. She based herself in New York City where make-up is recognized as artistry and the cultural diversity nourishes her with endless artistic inspiration.
Ana atributes her passion for modernist design, minimalism and graphism to her background in Brasília: daily shuffling at the "city-art", pervading her identity with bits of Oscar, Athos, Burle and Lúcio: lots of concrete, space and lines.
Her goals with Habitathos are to spread the ingenious style of a shy phenomenon of brazilian modern art: Athos Bulcão, as well as to strengthen the connection between make-up and art on popular brazilian view.
Besides conceptualizing the series, Ana directs, produces and signs the art behind Habitathos.
Celso Júnior - Photographer
Born at Ribeirão Preto (SP) and a graduated in Journalism, Celso was a team member of "O Estado de S. Paulo" (a famous newspaper in Brazil, "The State of S. Paulo", in a free translation) for 15 years, covering relevant world events (such as the Soccer World Cup in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 and in Rome the death of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI's election). Also during his period at the newspaper, he published specials devoted to rescuing the history of Brazil (such as "The unknown wars of Brazil" and "Boys from Contestado").
Winner of several photography prizes (such as the Prize for Journalistic Excellency from the Inter-American Print Society, the Vladimir Herzog Human Rights Prize, the Embratel Journalism Prize, the Juri's Prize from the Latin-American Investigative Journalism, amongst others ) Celso travelled for three years through the Amazon river gathering images for a book entitled "The river, a trip through the Amazon river's soul" ("O rio, uma viagem pela alma do Amazonas").
Currently, Celso integrates GPSBRASILIA's team (online portal and magazine) and has a spot behind the cameras in Habitathos.
Guilherme Siqueira (pronounced Ghee-'LYEHR-me See-'KAY-ra) - Public Relations
Owner of a business that carries his name and graduated on Advertising and Publicity in 2004, Guilherme Siqueira works with events and public relations, representing corporations that aspire to join or promote themselves on Brasília's market. Guilherme is also one of the founding associates of the publication GPSBRASÍLIA, responsable for the main online portal and printed lifestyle magazine of the capital.