The windows are covered over with panels of tiles, with three cartoon-like characters floating through the glass, giving a hint of what is inside. Inside, ceramic tiles decorate one of the walls, while the shadows of ceramic tiles weave through the paintings elsewhere.
Holland and Portugal: two countries with a tradition of producing and using decorated ceramic tiles in their architecture. For a brief period of in the 17th century, the northern half of Brazil came under Dutch rule, until the Portuguese consolidated its position and controlled the whole county, establishing the basis of Brazil that exists today.
Brazilian street artist Raphael Sagarra (born 1985), known as “Finok” integrates these different cultures and heritage into his work, celebrating the many different nationalities that have contributed to the Brazil of today, with his own ancestry being Japanese and Spanish.
At first his paintings, with predominant colours of brown, green and gold, often look traditional, but examination of the detail reveals the shadows within them – tiles, masks and patterns.
“Tropical Miscegenation” at Lazarides in London shows Sagarra’s recent work, displayed around an irreverent blow-up installation with the happy smiling faces that can be seen in much of his art.
“The foundations of Brazil and its culture are made up of small portions of the entire world. The Brazilian way of life and society make this explicit; you see the miscegenation through the music, the beliefs, the culture and the gastronomy.” (Raphael Sagarra).