In 2020, at the height of social distancing restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, visual artist Igi Lola Ayedun realized that as her artist friends tried to survive by working for food delivery apps, there was an influx of cash driving the cultural market. Restless, and with her experience and knowledge for devising and bringing to life various art, educational, and communication projects, she decided to act to bring these things together.
And so, HOA was born, a mixture of gallery and artistic residency, dedicated to Latin American contemporary art, with the aim of decolonizing and creating conditions that offer visibility and the production and sale of artwork by Black and indigenous artists.
She spoke to Brazilian Elle magazine about the initial process of creating Brazil’s first art gallery led exclusively by Black people. “I looked around me and said: ‘this isn’t right’. If there’s a flow still breathing, a beating heart, I need to create a path to bring that flow here, to dissident Black and trans artists.”
In an email conversation with C& América Latina, Ayedun added that HOA was born out of necessity, urgency, and nonconformity. “Never in my life did I think I’d become a gallery owner, despite having always been attached to projects for developing artistic practice and coordinating across various creative scenes,” she said. “But HOA – as a gallery – emerges from a process of financial derailment, from the idea of diverting economic flows from the art market to communities of high social vulnerability in Brazil in terms of race and gender.”