Wide-eyed and curious: Brazilian street artist Nina Pandolfo’s ethereal women have been brought to life in the Gratitude exhibition at the The Heydar Aliyev Centre, in partnership with JD Malat Project.
‘Being grateful, more than a word, is a lifestyle. It connects us with other people and with life in a unique and intense way. It teaches us that difficult moments are fleeting; that a beautiful dawn will soon come.’
Brazilian artist Nina Pandolfo’s definition of ‘gratitude’ has come to life in her latest exhibition at the Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, as part of a new partnership with JD Malat Project. Gratitude, which is populated by Pandolfo’s signature wide-eyed and ethereal women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, is a celebration of womanhood in a multicultural world.
Of the exhibition, Pandolfo says, ‘I hope that all visitors can feel touched by the characters, which for me do not represent any ethnicity, but rather the state of “being woman” – a state which holds strength in its fragility. I want visitors to feel a little bit of my “state of flow” as they enter the room with an open heart and surrender to the mixing of the senses – like being inside an aquarium or above the waters on a starry night’.
Born in Brazil in 1977, Pandolfo is known as one of the key figures in the 1990’s graffiti scene in Brazil. Gratitude, which also features a neon graffiti installation, nods to Pandolfo’s significance as a multidisciplinary artist within the wider field of street art, spanning both gallery and non-gallery contexts.
Jean-David Malat, who discovered Pandolfo’s street art ‘many years ago’, says that ‘by showing her work in such a prestigious building [as The Heydar Aliyev Centre], we can highlight the innovative nature of street art and its role to encourage others to think about the world we live in and really respond to our surroundings’.
Of the broader cross-cultural and cross-gallery partnership which Gratitude represents, Malat says: ‘The Heydar Aliyev Centre stands for inclusivity and multiculturalism, and its cultural values therefore really resonate with the message at the heart of Pandolfo’s work, which is all about positivity, acceptance, and togetherness. We share this same passion [at JD Malat Gallery] in London, and I hope that this collaboration not only opens new doors for emerging and established artists from London, but also from all over the world, just like Nina Pandolfo from Brazil.’
Visit Gratitude at The Heydar Aliyev Centre until 19 June 2022.
Words by: Ella Johnson
Online Editor: Candice Tucker