Several events around the globe seem to have put us in a state of suspension from reality. Logic is no longer the root of speeches, campaigns or worldviews. Many arguments distort or simplify realities that involve the sustainable development of this planet, the movement of vulnerable populations and many other topics that should be discussed in depth and not with slogans and ill-considered proposals.
Banana Republic is a response to this state of political and social disillusionment and disenchantment. The show’s surrealist realism is based on real facts, but extrapolated to the same level of fantasy as so many recent speeches. The state created by Shinji Nagabe finds itself under the grip of a cruel and populist dictator, while part of its people remains blind or building fragile facets accepted by this society, which quickly break down and reveal unacceptable aspects in this controlled environment. On the other side of this narrative is a rebellion that uses the same banana that blinds and censors to build its weapons and homemade bombs. This visceral, guerrilla response opens the way for direct confrontation with an absolutely backward and conservative view.
Central elements of the social and political transformations recently experienced in so many countries are present in the work: violence, extreme religiosity and a return to the control of customs in a marked setback in the guarantee of individual freedoms. In portraying this universe in a satirical way, Nagabe exposes its contradictions and connections with the reality we live in or fear to live in. The plunge into this fictitious republic and its acid tropical fantasy calls for a reflection on the role of each one in the directions chosen for our communities and those that we will still choose.
Felipe Abreu – Curator
13. FestFoto Brazil – International Festival of Photography of Porto Alegre
FestFoto 2020 – Digital