SAUDADE (OUR FLAGS)

By Marila Dardot

Location: Great Lawn Border Garden

(Back to Art on the Grounds)

In her first exhibition in the United States, Brazilian artist Dardot premieres a large-scale installation of flags created by first-generation immigrants living in the Bay Area, amplifying the voices and experiences of our varied diaspora communities, and honoring the complexities and challenges of their experience in the midst of a divisive national conversation about the value of immigrants and the nature of American identity.

In Portuguese, saudade refers to melancholic longing or yearning. A recurring theme in Portuguese and Brazilian literature, saudade evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness. Portuguese scholar Aubrey Bell attempts to distill this complex concept in his 1912 book In Portugal, describing saudade as “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present.” He continues to argue that saudade is “not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.” Saudade can also be casually used in conversation to mean you miss someone or something, even if you will see that person or thing in the near future. Describing her new work, Dardot states, “As an immigrant myself, I feel saudade. I miss where I came from. I miss places and people, houses and smells, sounds and moods; all the subtle details that make me who I am.” She goes on to say, “at a time when migrants and immigrants around the world are increasingly being scapegoated and ‘othered’ as the cause of societies’ problems, and when the complexity of their identities and experiences are often overly simplified--Saudade (our flags) is an opportunity to celebrate immigrants and the richness of their complex subjectivities, memories, and contributions, making them present and visible in the here and now.”

Project Partners:

factr   Office of Immigrant Relations
  Santa Clara County Library District