The closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro paid tribute to lace makers and their importance in the complex cultural fabric of North Eastern Brazil. Singers dressed in pristine white lace and dancers robed in symbolic costume were absorbed by an expanding pattern of light that reflected the designs and significance of lace making to the economy and culture of the nation.
Labirinto, the title of Christus Nóbrega’s exhibition, refers to a technique of lace making traditionally practised by the women of his home state, Paraíba. The exhibition reflects both his heritage and the enduring role of cotton in an economy with roots in the 16th century. It is an exhibition that reveals the story of Ingá, a small town in the district of Chã dos Pereiras and the tragedy of Nóbrega’s widowed grandmother, who losing all financial support, was forced to relinquish her six children to the care of distant relatives and religious institutions. Her only means of survival was to make and sell the characteristic lace of an area whose culture is to some extent defined by the labyrinthine complexity and beauty of its crafts. Labirinto is the result of three years of research in which Nóbrega explored his ancestral homelands, gathering images and testimonials from artisans and relatives for a series of ‘banners’ that would incorporate poignant images from his family’s album. Positioned away from the gallery walls, Nóbrega’s emblematic works cast deep shadows that evoke the experience of discovering laces stretched in the narrow streets of the settlements of Chã dos Pereiras; drying under the intense sunlight of Brazil’s north east.
Professor Christus Nóbrega is an artist and lecturer at the University of Brasilia (UnB). He has a PH.D in Contemporary Art and is lecturer and coordinator for the Post Graduate courses at the Arts Institute of UnB. He has regularly participated in national and international exhibitions in spaces such as Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre, Rio Art Museum, Palace of the Arts, Belo Horizonte, Elefante Cultural Centre, Brasilia, Correios Cultural Centre, Rio de Janeiro, Santander Cultural, Porto Alegre, and FIESP Cultural Centre, Sao Paulo. His works can be found in public and private collections; The Cartier Foundation in Paris, Rio art Museum (MAR) and the Brasilia National Museum, the collection of Itamaraty and in the central Academy of fine Arts. He has also written several books and scientific articles on arts and education. Christus was nominated for the Pipa Prize, has received awards from the Cultural program Petrobas in 2004/2011 whilst also receiving an award in 2004 from the Museu da Casa Brasileira. In 2015 he represented Brazil in China through the Artistic Residency Program run by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His artwork was displayed at the Central Chinese University; Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Beijing.
Labirinto, Christus Nóbrega is supported by the Embassy of Brazil in Canberra