André Hora is a Brazilian/British artist and freelance illustrator whom I met in a chilly New York last year. At that time, we found ourselves in the company of Artist Tim Okamura during a personal interview regarding his popular paintings. On the rooftop of Tim’s art studio, André and I looked over at the city of Manhattan splayed out in front of us and it was there I learnt about his art. We discussed his different influences within the art world and I was so fascinated by his work that I later had to contact him for an interview.
Y: Can you tell us a little bit about your art? Some of your pieces have a distinct African flare to them. With the several cultural and identity labels within Brazil, have any of them affected you as an artist and in what ways?
André: I would define my art as narrative, especially the late works, almost all of which are telling a story, a myth or describing a day-to-day situation. On my early works we see a lot of faces and skulls – I was obsessed by the human head! I didn’t attend a formal art school, although I learnt to draw at a very early age with my Dad (who is an architect), and since then I have attended several private lessons and workshops in Brazil, France and in the UK where I am based. I am drawn to Afro-Brazilian culture and particularly to Yoruba mythology as we find in Candomblé (a mixture of traditional Yoruba, Fon, Ewe and Bantu beliefs). Not only because I come from Bahia, but because my great-great-grandmother was a slave. I was always fascinated by this ancestor of mine I knew so little about. So from my Portuguese, Native American and African origins, I find myself very influenced on my art by the latter – both aesthetically and philosophically.
Haiti Kanaval, photographed by Leah Gordon.
"The characters and costume partially betray their roots in medieval European carnival, but the Jacmellian masquerades are also a fusion of clandestine Vodou, ancestral memory, political satire and personal relevation. The lives of the indigenous Taino Indians, the slaves’ revolt and more recently state corruption are all played out using drama and costume on Jacmel’s streets… [Haitian culture] is a vibrant, living avatar for not only Haitian history, but for all our histories."
- Leah Gordon