‘Carrancas’ is inspired by Brazilian boat figureheads, used as symbolic talismans to protect sailors. The various works attached to the tall wooden poles are revealed and hidden according to the ebb and flow of the tidal waters.
Positioned as if they are sentinels guarding the shoreline, each post has been sculpted to resemble Brazilian figure heads, called “Carrancas” that adorn fishing boats on the San Francisco River. Carrancas are zoo anthropomorphic figures that frequently mix the features of humans, horses and lions and are used as talismans to protect the local fishermen from evil spirits, an expression of the universal desire for something magical, something larger than ourselves to help us conquer our trepidations. Looking closely some features on these curios structures soon become apparent, there are heads, human forms, some gargoyles eyes and a large brick fist that lies heavy on the seabed, and as the height of the objects attached to the posts vary, these forms will appear and disappear with the rise and fall of the tide. Erosion and mutability are important qualities in Tonico Lemos Auad’s sculptural works and in Folkestone he was inspired by the weathered stone sculptures on the nearby parish church of St Mary and St Eanswyths.
Auad was born and raised in Belem, Northern Brazil, which like Folkestone is a port town. There he was fascinated by the ritualistic processions for an afro- Brazilian goddess of the sea. In these celebrations a votive object symbolizing the wishes of the carrier, a brick for instance could represent a whole house, was transported through the streets down to the beach. Images of these festivals along with Folkestone’s own annual Blessings of the Fisheries, the Multi-Cultural Festival and Charivari procession were an inspiration to the artist.