ENIVO, “Sargrado Feminino 1_(DSL Series)” (2022), Courtesy of KATES-FERRI PROJECTS

October 7th – November 4th, 2022

On October 7th, KATES-FERRI PROJECTS launched BRAZA: ENIVO, Brazilian artist ENIVO’s first North American solo exhibition. To walk into the gallery is to step into a party of life and color in the favelas of Brazil. The oil on canvas artwork displays a cultural vignette with tin roofs and cinderblock walls – which are also full of people with hope and optimism. To ENIVO, these locales are home, and the vibrant scenes of women twerking or a man bleaching his friend’s hair in a hot tub are snapshots of local young adults casually passing the time. Each subject, often holding a cell phone, is simply letting loose on what could be a Friday night anywhere.

Marcos Ramos, known professionally as ENIVO, is a 1986-born street muralist who had his first experiences with graffiti art in the Grajaú neighborhood of São Paulo at the age of 12. After beginning his career as an art educator working with nonprofits, he founded Galeria A7MA to curate artist exhibitions and installations. The artist’s murals can be found across the United States, Mexico, Europe, and, of course, Brazil. 

While BRAZA: ENIVO‘s men and women are painted two-dimensionally, the objects they hold dear are rendered with bold strokes and dense detail; the tip of a blunt caked with texture here, a box of Delicia margarine jutting out there. Shimmering jewelry creates small mounds on the contours of a man’s body as he smokes with his iPhone in his pants with tattoos running up his arm and a digital watch on his wrist. In one painting, a masked drug dealer stands at the forefront while police officers are being paid off in the background. Here, in ENIVO’s ecosystem, these things feel like regular Friday evening behavior. 

ENIVO, “Sagrado Masculino 422_(DSL Series)” (2022); Enivo, “Sagrado Masculino 422_(DSL Series)” (2022). Courtesy of KATES-FERRI PROJECTS

The world behind the paintings is fully immersive. A rainbow line connects each canvas across the stark-white walls the way that power lines deliver selfies from phone to phone, running the energy of one image through the next in a grid-like connectedness. This transmitting thread runs through various heart-eyed emojis on the wall, giving the viewer the impression that the images are being shared and “liked” on social media as they look at the display. The effect is one of being in a WhatsApp group chat where friends are sharing images from the night before, littering the forum with digital reactions and exclamations of, “I remember that!”

ENIVO, “Acerto de contas-Reckoning” (2022). Courtesy of KATES-FERRI PROJECTS

The exhibition’s curator Simon Watson states, “Enivo’s art making is fueled by Brazil’s brilliant diversity of peoples, taking inspiration equally from age-old traditions and contemporary funk and urban scenes that have engendered unique art forms and styles embodying faith in people’s communality and generosity — sharing ideas from person to person, family to family, community to community.”

In the corner of the Lower East Side gallery, a pair of shoes hangs from the ceiling in a territorial statement like a signature at the bottom of an oil painting by an old master. This is ENIVO’s world, but the life and color have welcomed the viewer to wonder if, perhaps, a party in the favelas of Brazil is not that fundamentally different from a party in New York City.

“BRAZA: ENIVO” is on view at KATES-FERRI PROJECTS through November 4th, 2022.

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