Anderson Carvalho - Listen to Yourself, Look Around You, Get Inspired by Other Artists, but Do Not Forget Your Own Way of Making Art (Brazilian and Dutch Artist)

Every successful and young emerging artist has their own way of making art. There is no wrong art and there is no right art. The only way of improving continuously is to believe in yourself as an artist and in your own art. Sometimes you don’t need to have clarity about what you are creating, because it’s a process of letting emerge from your feelings and experiences. 

1. Tell us more about your background and journey?

I am a Brazilian and Dutch artist who comes from the ‘forgotten’ and ‘marginalized’ suburbs of Brazil called favelas. I began to break and challenge the boundaries and stereotypes through art, using dance and drama to speak for me and for those who live there. When I use the word forgotten I am referring to the fact that it is a place left behind by the authorities, lacking proper investment from the government. 

Marginalized because of the common view fed by the media about the suburbs, favela, and its residents, which are based on a long list of deficiencies such as violence, unemployment, poverty, criminality, drug addiction, and corruption, the biggest problem. I have walked side by side with these social deficiencies, where unemployment was inside of the house, criminality at the door, and poverty at a table.

I began my dance career in a social dance project called EDISCA, located in Fortaleza, Ceará. First as a place for entertainment and to escape from poverty. I learned that art is a powerful vehicle for communication, development, and transformation. My life began to be shaped by the opportunities and new knowledge that was made available to me through art. I had to travel to perform in and outside Brazil and see another side of the world. 

My life was shaped by the moments I was inspired to think and question our own lives and realities. I got the opportunity and took it with all my heart, to develop new skills and build a sensitive knowledge about myself and the world.  I started to see my reality differently, and the social issues became visible and the need for change bigger. It began to reflect on my way of doing art and how I could make a difference in the world.

As an independent artist, I have now a master’s degree in arts/Choreography from Codarts University of Arts and Fontys University, The Netherlands. I am a member of the International Dance Council CID/UNESCO. I am the Founder and Artistic Director of Anderson Carvalho Dance & Choreography. I am the director of Project Number 8. I was the Jury Chairman at the Korea International Contemporary Dance Competition 2020.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

I never decided to be an artist. I was born an artist. Throughout my childhood I began to awaken my abilities to craft the things that surrounded me, translating feelings and emotions into games and objects. I began to experience forms and movement. 

The backyard of my mother’s house was the first physical space where I started to experiment with my ideas, building a circus tent at the tree, inviting friends to watch a child performance. But it was at school when I began to attend the drama lessons, that I learned the power of the artist that lived in me.

3. Is it a financially stable career?

Being an artist is not a challenging task in itself but keeping alive the artist that lives in us is the most challenging part of the journey. The world has money for arts, but unfortunately, it is not available for everybody, making it a very financially unstable career. I live for art, art is in me, and the world needs art.
This pandemic crisis taught us how important the role is of art in society. 

We went through difficult times and art was a way to move forward, to connect, to heal, and to save lives. We as artists kept people inspired. Through our artworks we empowered, and we created a space for dialogue and encounters. But artists need better financial support to make a stable career. 

4. Who is your favorite painter/artist and why?

My favorite artist is Armand Amar, a French composer of Moroccan origin, born in Jerusalem. His music has the power to touch our emotions and bring us closer to ourselves. I have been using his music to approach the research movement for the past few years. Armand Amar is my inspiration to begin a movement journey and find a world parallel to the world we live in. 

I like to experience the creative process from as many different angles as possible, searching for new spaces, new sounds, new movement, and new opportunities for the expression of choreography, and Amar’s music opens space for creation.

5. What is your inspiration for creating art?

I first learned about the German author, poet, and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) when I was studying drama in Brazil as a young artist.
He is well-known for being provocative, for his revolutionary dramatic theories, political beliefs, and philosophical position towards social causes. I began to question my own sense, my own space, where and how I was living through learning about Brecht.

I began to link my personal experiences and the reality I was experiencing into my art practice. I began to observe the life and the people that surrounded me. I started to explore ways to talk in a different level than words, and today, I am driven by the belief in communication through the body and its physicality, how art and body movement can change and heal other people’s lives, valuing the power and poetry of dance as a tool for social change.

6. What piece of advice would you like to give to future aspiring artists?

Every successful and young emerging artist has their own way of making art. There is no wrong art and there is no right art. The only way of improving continuously is to believe in yourself as an artist and in your own art. Sometimes you don’t need to have clarity about what you are creating, because it’s a process of letting emerge from your feelings and experiences. 

Listen to yourself, look around you, get inspired by other artists, but do not forget your own way of making art. It is not society that will define who is an artist and what is art. You first have to believe in yourself in order to make others believe in you and believe that you and your art have value.

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

When I began to explore the concept of translating my lived experience in Brazil, I came in contact with the book The Poetics of Space (1994) by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. He talks about an imagined home, place, time, and how homes shape our memories and thoughts. Poetically he looks into and writes about architecture. “The house is one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories, and dreams of mankind” (Bachelard, 1994, p. 6). I am inspired by Bachelard’s notion of exploration of home, the experience of space. 

I immediately made a connection with how I approach my creative process regarding his philosophy, by looking into the unity and complexity of the house which is made out of memories and experiences.  I explored ways to look at these physical spaces such as my mother’s house, a house that is embedded in my experiences, the street where I lived, and the neighborhood I come from. I explore with a different eye, a sensitive and poetic eye. 

Anderson Carvalho

Anderson Carvalho - Brazilian and Dutch Artist

Interviewed By: Shivansh Sharma

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