“My tongue is not for rusting and so my words must be harsh” – from this a huge steel tongue spills rusted in place. London-based artist Sara Nunes Fernandes’ sculpture Rusty Tongue Sticking Out exists as a powerful reconstruction of a Portuguese folkloric tale told to her by her grandfather. The story tells of a farmer who while herding his master’s sheep, shoeless, is met by two policemen. The farmer’s naked feet causes the policemen to believe he is actually a thief who has stolen the sheep and take them away despite the farmer’s reasoning. Sara’s sculpture morphs the two types of tongues – the flexible, wet tongue that flies from the mouth in retort and the rusted tongue forced into compliancy.
Rusted Tongue Sticking Out was created specifically for the interim show of The School of the Damned (an underground Fine Art MA course set up in London this year). And the symbolism was perfect as Sara explained: “The School Of The Damned is doing something like this, we are not the only nor the first school to raise alternatives against our generation’s exclusion from being able to do an MA in England. We are protesting against the current system by sticking an agile tongue at it, but the fight is old and rusty and will not benefit our generation directly.”
Bum prints of all 12 students at the school were turned into cushions too, as though all of the conversations the students had had while sat on chairs had gathered beneath them becoming a sort of foot print of the school.
Sara’s work is prolific, each piece somehow re-routing us in the disorientating space of her own artistic mythology, a lore that grabs at every mythicism out there from folklore to dreamworlds to the internet as it creeps into our ever-expanding universe. Get lost in her website, it is fantastic, follow the travels of her music project Colin Min Sai as they sing about Bagel Shops, The Stacked-Up-Man and Silverdagger, stand by the Light Feet of sand and maize or follow the journeys of the publication The River People. Who knows where you will end up but you will definitely have a story to tell at the end of it.
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