As part of CAF Commons, a key program of the independent platform Contemporary Art and Feminism, If I Can’t Dance’s Associate Curator Susan Gibb was invited to present a screening of the film, Bete & Deise (2011), by Wendelien van Oldenborgh, at The Cross Art Projects alongside curator Jasmin Stephens.
Van Oldenborgh’s film Bete & Deise stages an encounter between two women in Rio de Janeiro: Bete Mendes and Deise Tigrona. These women have – each in their own way – given meaning to the idea of a public voice. Bete Mendes (1949) has continued to maintain a political career alongside her acting career in popular television since the 1960s. Deise Tigrona (1979) is a Baile funk singer who in recent years rose to great popularity. She was forced to take a step back when it became too burdensome to combine her music career with her tough family life in Cidade de Deus.
Together these women talk about their experience with performance and their position in the public sphere, allowing for the contradictions they each carry within themselves to surface. Bete & Deise is the final work in a trilogy of works by Van Oldenborgh that have each come from a research into current changes in labour conditions and our understanding of the collective and the public voice and the role of cultural production in this.
Bete & Deise was commissioned by If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution for Edition IV (2011-2012), and was financially supported by the Mondrian Fund and Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam. With thanks to Capacete Entretenimentos, Rio de Janeiro.