I came to the East End in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica, one of many Brazilian cultural exiles in London in the nineteen-sixties. Oiticia staged an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1967, introducing the new cultural movement of Tropicalia to Europe by recreating a favela in the gallery. And now I'm creating my own Tropicalia here in the twenty-first century, reinventing this poverty aesthetic with a pop exuberance that reflects the cosmopolitanism of my own life experience – which began in a favela in Brazil and took me on a journey from South to North America and eventually to Europe, where I found my home in the East End of London.
My pictures combine the sensibility of Fine Art with the painstaking technique of Folk Art. I want to transform these ill-considered objects into works of delicacy and finesse, using bottletops that litter our streets disregarded to remind people of all the other pitiful wonders of human ingenuity that they forget to notice.