Interview: Nelson Yabeta
Luca Curci talks with Nelson Yabeta during MIXING IDENTITIES, third appointment of CANVAS ART FAIR, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space in London.
Nelson Yabeta is an actor, director, and producer. He started his career in 1999 as an actor in theatre plays. As a director, he began his career in 2005, through theatre classes in the city of São Pedro da Aldeia, Rio de Janeiro, where he created the ‘Cia. Casa dos Azulejos‘. He directed several plays, always with the group, and currently directs/produces the audiovisual channel ‘Apartment Poetry‘ on YouTube, where he also collaborates as an actor. The short film “Apartment Poetry” is his first film and it premiered at the International Festival “O Cubo” of Independent Cinema in Portuguese Language.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Nelson Yabeta – I was born in São Pedro da Aldeia, a small town in the interior of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I started my artistic career in my teens, working as an actor in plays, but always nurturing a great passion for cinema. After a few years, I started to give theatre classes and created ‘Cia. Casa dos Azulejos’, a theatre group that allowed me to direct shows. The experience as a director instigated me to look for an intimate theatrical language, which dialogued with the cinema through the staging in unconventional spaces, such as houses and apartments. Thus the shows “THE NIGHT OF THE INNOCENTS” (2018) and “THE DRAGONS DO NOT KNOW PARADISE” (2019) were born, staged in apartments. In June 2020, during the pandemic, the YouTube channel ‘APARTMENT POETRY’ appeared with the production of weekly videos/poems and later the short film “APARTMENT POETRY”, which is the project in question at the MIXING IDENTITIES exhibition. The greatest influence on this and all of my works developed in apartments is the documentary “EDIFÍCIL MASTER” (2002), by the Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, in addition to the concept “liquid modernity”, created by the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.
LC – What are you currently working on?
NY – I am currently directing the documentary “A CITY POEM – SÃO PEDRO DA ALDEIA”, a film in honour of the city I was born with poems by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. In addition, my new short film A “BEAUTY IN FORGOTTEN LOVE” also debuts this semester.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your video works?
NY – The biggest challenge in my audiovisual works has been to find the best way to articulate the production in a non-face-to-face manner due to the current pandemic, as well as almost all independent artists who have had to reinvent their forms of production. At the same time, this challenge also serves as a major stimulus for creativity.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
NY – Especially at events in my life, but also in constant dialogue with the work of other artists, such as the work of the Brazilian writer Caio Fernando Abreu, the songs of the Norwegian singer and composer Aurora Aksnes, in addition to the films of filmmakers who influence me, such as Canadian Xavier Dolan and Brazilian Anna Muylaert.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
NY – It is always enriching to receive suggestions from the public! Some influence my work more directly than others, but in the end, it is always positive, even when they are critical. It is up to the artist to filter the suggestions and use them or not in the work itself.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
NY – I agree with the ITSLIQUID GROUP vision of art and I identify a lot with the theme of the festival, as the study of the fluidity and the search for the mixture of identities was a fundamental basis for the creation of the YouTube channel and the short film “APARTMENT POETRY”.
LC – Can you explain something about the video work you have in our exhibition?
NY – The short film “APARTMENT POETRY” is my debut as a filmmaker and originated through the eponymous channel on YouTube, created in 2020 with the production of weekly videos/poems. The film premiered in November 2020 at THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL THE CUBE – INDEPENDENT CINEMA IN PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE and is divided into five poems, written by four Brazilian woman poets, which portray love, loneliness and the female universe. The cast consists of six actresses from different cities and the production was all done during the pandemic, virtually. “APARTMENT POETRY” is a small poetic mosaic of the feminine universe, of love and contemporary solitude.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
NY – I got to know ITSLIQUID GROUP in 2020 and found the project very interesting, which through several annual artistic exhibitions gives visibility to the work of independent artists from all over the world, in addition to creating opportunities for these artists to establish new partnerships in the world.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
NY – Of course! It is an honour to be able to show the short film “APARTMENT POETRY” to the public in London and in the future I hope to make new partnerships with you.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
NY – Above all, congratulations on having held the MIXING IDENTITIES exhibition and for all the work done! My only suggestion – and also my wish – is that in the future, when this sad pandemic will be completely over, the ITSLIQUID GROUP could grow even more and make it possible and easier for the participating artists to be present at the opening events.