Alma de Bronze | 2016-2018
The Guerrilheiras [Female Guerillas] series is part of a group of works created by Virginia de Medeiros under the Alma de Bronze [Bronze Soul] project, as a result of the artist’s experience with the women who lead Frente de Luta por Moradia (FLM, the Struggle for Housing Movement) of São Paulo’s Movimento Sem Teto do Centro (MSTC, the Downtown Landless People’s Movement). Medeiros first came into contact with the movement in 2016 as she joined the Cambridge Artist Residency Program, which saw her spend three months living in a 15th floor bedroom at Ocupação Hotel Cambridge, a squatted former hotel in São Paulo. There, she portrayed the daily militance of MTSC women in photographs and video statements. Some questions were key in steering conversations, such as: “Do you consider yourself a contemporary guerilla, a victorious woman?” and “What is the tool that gives you strength in the struggle?”. The following year, while still in touch with the movement, the artist had the chance to participate in the inception of squat Ocupação 9 de Julho from the very start. Guerrilheiras comprises the portraits of 12 women who play key roles in the occupation’s day-to-day. The photographs depict these women, whose life stories are extremely relevant, alongside the elements they consider to be their symbols of strength. The photo series was featured in the Alma de Bronze exhibit (2018), which took place at Ocupação 9 de Julho itself, along with an eponymous video on how the downtown São Paulo building got squatted, and the video installation Quem Não Luta tá Morto Those Who Won’t Fight Are Already Dead, composed of 12 video statements from the women. To see the video Alma de Bronze, click here.