15 Aug Interview with AnaVitória: “I strongly believe in the healing power of art.”

“Encruzilhada” will be on display from September 23 to 30, at Galeria de Arte – Espaço Cultural Mercês, in Lisbon. Created, installed and performed by AnaVitória, Encruzilhada is a meeting place to talk about the feminine and their ancestral voices. This Performative establishment is yet another reflection of the art to which AnaVitória is dedicated: the art of encounter, proximity, sensitive listening that awakens the world.

How do you define your art?

I look for each new step and design an increasingly better way of approaching each other. An increasingly sensitive listening. A more accurate look at the world that allows me through poetry to sensitize your listening and your look. I strongly believe in the healing power of art through sensoriality and encounter. I cannot define my art and I hope I never will, because then I will always be free to reinvent myself and to invent new life possibilities!



What is at the origin of the performance installation “Encruzilhada”?

The “Encruzilhada” continues a continuous line of investigation around the pertinent questions of the feminine universe. This research has been developed since 2000 and has been accentuated with the thought, with the practice of autobiographical research and, also, through the need to give voice and visibility to the issues of the private in the public.



How can the “Crossroads” awaken society to its problems and challenges?

As the contemporary subject starts to assume his body and his history as protagonists of the society and culture in which he lives. When inclusion takes place and is considered in the sociocultural spheres of the community, there is no doubt that we all benefit. The role of women in building societies cannot be neglected. Even if it is in the domestic, private or family sphere: are these not the support and anchor of every society that wants to be healthy?



Is the Encruzilhada a meeting place for several paths?

Yes, Encruzilhada is a concrete space where paths meet. But it’s not just that, it’s also a magical and sacred place for many primordial cultures. It is a place of choice, decision-making, encounters and disagreements. In this sense, when I choose the crossroads to speak of the feminine and its matrilineal ancestral voices, I do so in an attempt to verify how much we inherit from these female ancestors. How do we reiterate their behavior? How do we reaffirm or change them? The Crossroads exposes all these questions.

In this work, do you assume the role of different women?

I am at the center of these encounters with my body, but crossed by many voices of women who, for this project specifically, told me their affective stories and memories and, thus, entrusted my body to give voice, gesture and movements to the their legacies. These legacies are familiar to all of us women.



Encruzilhada is scheduled to premiere in Lisbon on the 23rd of September at the Galeria de Arte – Espaço Cultural Mercês. How do these spaces bring another dimension to your work?

My work has not been performed on stage for many years. Since 2009 I have been looking for alternative spaces to give body and immersion to my work. I have been working with the idea of ​​the site-specif, because I believe in the power of immersion and a participatory approach to the public. I already broke the fourth theatrical wall a long time ago! The other, the spectator, is a direct accomplice of the event or encounter that I promote. This proximity is essential. My performative actions are more and more in the line of ritual performance than of theatrical performance. This requires another terrain: more “Terreiro” and as close as possible to explore and interact with the encounter.

What can people expect from this presentation?

People will be challenged to recognize their legacies that always turn out to be common. The presentation addresses the issue of gender behaviors in imposed cultures, in the ways in which societies determine the conduct of life and their segregation. People may also be surprised by singularities, exceptionalities and deviations so powerful that they are often capable of changing lives. They will see the archetypal strength of the woman who, despite so much secular oppression, has resisted in the face of so many predators.



Does the art you create always aim to give voice to the world’s problems?

Art is a potent path of critical reflection, self-knowledge, healing, infinite possibilities for reinvention. The art I practice does not always aim to draw attention to the issues of the world, but it ends up doing so naturally, because it is in the daily life of listening and sensitive looking at the world that I find the strength to create. Art cannot continue to be captured by institutions to be the domain of the few and the few. Art and creation are a human capacity that is in all of us. Our biggest challenge is precisely to give everyone access to enjoy their creative and expressive capacity. “Living in a state of the art” in an inventive, pulsating and enchanting way. Without losing our sensory abilities, which is what makes us grow and survive.