35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Performance <
i>How deep is the ocean?, by Ventura Profana during the 35th Bienal de São Paulo © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Ventura Profana

It is a late afternoon on a sunny Sunday. In a residential neighborhood, children are playing on the sidewalk, some with a ball, others with rope, some at home on their cell phones. There are men and women in front of the houses, talking and looking at their children, daughters, nieces. In one of the houses music is playing as the barbecue edges into the early evening. At one point, a child points to the sky and announces: “Mom, Dad, come here, quick! What’s that? Is it flying?” Gradually, everyone begins to look in the indicated direction. Blinded by a radiant glow, they see a beautiful figure approaching, bright and golden, shining like the sun, gliding through mist towards the ground. The child approaches it and asks: “Are you God?” and the answer is clear: “You can call me Deize, I have something to tell you.”

Ventura Profana is an artist with several practices, a glorious prophet, a pastor in her divine capacity. By producing music, video clips, digital collages, installations, and photographs, she creates visualities and life performances that build new imaginaries about religion and faith. In these imaginaries, existences that escape the traditional controls of gender and sexuality are possible. The existences to which the artist refers are the transvestilities, guardians of the sources of life, forests, and mangroves, those who make themselves alive in the midst of the Dead Sea, who are like the mountains of Zion that do not shake, guardians of ecosystems and sacred life. In her work it is possible to recognize dissident corporealities as a point of torsion between an inflexible tradition and the creation of other emancipatory perspectives In other words, her production elaborates modes of epistemology that critique conservative and colonial systems of truths and beliefs. To this end, Profana performs inversions and insertions in the neo-Pentecostal linguistic, visual, and performative resources inherited from the familial context. Among some of her interventions in the order of discourse, by replacing Lord with the transvestite, the artist places this mode of existence as a central and disruptive element of traditional thought, elaborating a discourse without Lord, weaving a critique of neo-Pentecostal dogmas, as well as being anti-patriarchal and anti-militaristic. It is thus possible to recognize that Ventura Profana’s output cries out for life in abundance, herself the missionary body that prophesies and praises for health, love, and freedom for all transvestites. At its limit, her artistic production broadens the perception that, by founding a world in which transvestite life is possible, all lives will be possible, immersed in power and glory.

maria luiza meneses
translated from Portuguese by philip somervell

Ventura Profana (Salvador, BA, Brazil, 1993. Lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a missionary pastor, evangelist singer, writer, composer, and visual artist. Her practice is based on researching the implications and methodologies of Deuteronomism in Brazil and abroad, through the dissemination of neo-Pentecostal churches. She prophesies multiplication and abundant life for Black, Indigenous, and transgender individuals.