C&AL: Your first works of art were performance pieces using materials with a colonial or ritualistic context, but which have also been neutralized due to being so embedded in everyday life, such as sugar. What is the significance of choosing these materials in this process, which you call archaeological gestures, in order to rethink the way history is portrayed?
Tiago Sant’Ana: The materials I use in my work are never straightforward. They have historical significance. When I reclaim their use, it’s to address, to a greater or lesser extent, the continuity of colonial relationships in the contemporary world. This choice almost always comes from my proposal to conduct a narrative dispute about what the official version of history has said about them and what a more Afro-centric look can offer. When I use sugar, it’s to unravel how for centuries this organic material has sustained the systems of slavery and exploitation of black people. These relationships are updated in contemporary times – whether because black people continue to be associated exclusively with domestic work or physical strength, or because people of African descent continue to be imprisoned in large numbers and exterminated by the state’s machinery. For me, these materials have the ability to reclaim debates that are often not discussed as they should be. We’ve adopted the use of sugar in our daily lives, but if we take a step back to examine what this food has meant historically for Brazil, we’ll see that it denotes violence, extermination, genocide and, in an opposite way, a naturalization of whiteness as an acceptable parameter for life and of social organization.