Francisco Rodrigues, a.k.a. NUNCA (1983, São Paulo), is a multidisciplinary artist based in São Paulo. His practice is rooted in the urban environment and attuned to the concept of Cultural Cannibalism: a notion identified by the 1920’s Brazilian Modernists describing the way local traditional cultures are transformed by external influences through globalization, and how worldwide information interferes in the construction or destruction of someone’s identity.
NUNCA started painting in the streets of São Paulo at twelve years old and rapidly developed an extremely distinctive style, which is the result of a dialogue between ancient and modern techniques, as well as iconographies. His characteristic volume rendering refers to antique metal etching, the technique used by the first conquerors to portray indigenous tribes and African slaves brought to the New World.
These representations designed by conquistadors, which are at the roots of the creation of modern and contemporary stereotypes and prejudices towards the other, were used to subjugate people into a colony of the European Mother Country, resulting in identities of ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised’.
NUNCA keeps questioning the human and cultural phenomenon, emphasizing the long-gone borders of global cultural expression and local identities. His oeuvre confronts the modern urban world with its native past and investigates the equilibrium between trade, nature and humans, with the desire to part from a binary society that prevents the multiplicity of cultures, the multiplicity of truths, of histories and traditions. The artist responds to the cultural legacies of colonialism and the human consequences of controlling images, symbols and attributes.
Brazil is a country with an estimated 340 different ethnicities and indigenous groups who still have a cultural diversity, but which is under threat at all times. In this context, NUNCA’s practice represents an attempt to deal with the loss of cultural identity and diversity, economic and political instability, and the rise of a new inter-cultural generation.
NUNCA has exhibited in important institutions all around the world including: ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 2018; CAFA Museum, Beijing, 2017; Frestas Triennial, Soroccaba, Brazil, 2017; SESC Museum, São Paulo, 2016; Oaxaca Museum of Contemporary Art, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2013; Grand Palais, Paris, 2009; Tate Modern, London, 2008; Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, 2007; Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, 2007; AfroBrasil Museum, São Paulo, 2006. His work has also been exhibited in many galleries around the world, including São Paulo, New York and Hong Kong. Murals of NUNCA can be found in Paris, Toronto, Frankfurt, Berlin, Kiev, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Miami and Glasgow.