Exhibition views
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1 of 8

03/05 – 12/06 2021

Mendes Wood DM São Paulo is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Cassi Namoda, ‘The sun has not yet burned off the dew’ in Brazil. The Mozambican native artist narrates haunting tableaus of transience, transformation, and silent psychic rumination. Interweaving global spiritualism, religious aphorism, and patchwork tales of deliverance, Namoda crafts a landscape centered upon the most distant thresholds of expiry and embodiment—the dusken thinning of veils.

From time to time, I thought I could still hear the giant sighing, swallowing wave after wave, turning hope into an ebbing tide.
– Mia Couto, Terra Sonâmbula

A whale ran ashore the night before last. Baby blue like the gentlest dawn, never to suspect the cruel noontime scorch. And the father and the doctor and the teacher and the preacher all paid their respects, wished peace to the beast. The gulls were first to announce the stranger’s arrival, trumpeting in the twilight, and over the course of a day and a half, the small stretch of sand had arisen from its slumber to fever pitch then fallen right back to dreaming sleep.

The gulls first awoke the children, to dance and sing around the solemn animal in the moonlight cast, and their jovial screams that soared atop sea breezes awoke the wives, who in the hold of nighttime terror, awoke the glinting knives and cutlasses. Ever sympathetic, the knives and cutlasses thought to free the whale by liberating flesh from bone, and the beast's gentle cries awoke the stranger inhabitants of the night—ghosts, then witches, then sirens, then shetani. Then the archangel Michael to thrust his spear into the dragon’s claret heart. Then Theseus to slay the sea monster with a poisoned sword, and Andromeda, Ethiop princess, to walk free.

Each silver-tipped arrow lodged in the flank devastation, and all the while the whale’s glance never strayed from heaven in the horizon, its eyes never stopped watching God.

But that’s all in the past, like life’s simple dream. Heroes departed and last rites fulfilled, none remain but wayward pilgrims—scavengers, vagrants, the smallest devils, and loneliest spirits that drift along the shore like glistening droplets down the nape of the damask neck. For now, is the time of the feminine labors; the kindly weavers (O companionless scorpion)who patiently unknit the whale from its bony mooring one stitch at a time; the mourners, the wailers, and the pious watchwomen, who coax from the moon its fuchsia halo and from the sea its holy green flash.

In this sacred hush, all binds are loosened, all fetters are light. But feet and fins have retired from stirring. They know now the wisdom of the wait, for neither end nor beginning, only return. Their eyes and ears attend the merciful whispers of the wind. There too shall come the gentlest push that sets them, again, downstream.

Now the little boat is rocking. Little by little, it becomes light, like a woman being caressed, and it frees itself from the lap of the earth, liberated at last, navigable...on the waves, a thousand stories are written...

- Wesley Hardin

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