TWO Scottish artists who address gender and sexuality will give live presentations of work made in Brazil during the ascent of extreme right-winger Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency.

Composer Henry McPherson and artist-performer Stephanie Black-Daniels (pictured) will perform against a backdrop of work by Vinicius Pinto Rosa and Miro Spinelli, the two Brazilian artists with whom the Scots shared studio space in Rio de Janeiro.

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A four-week residency is part of Open Bodies, a project led by Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery and Despina, an independent gallery in the Brazilian city which also functions as a hub for opponents of Bolsonaro’s ultra-conservatism.

The febrile, anxious atmosphere around the gallery inspired workshops and “performance actions” the Scots held with Rio-based artists.

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“In the gallery people would be creating banners for rallies,” says Black-Daniels, a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire. “It was very much a place that people would talk about what was happening. Certainly the people I met in connection with gallery almost all had a relationship with something extreme, something negative.

“You’d hear stories that if you identified as something ‘other’ you could be a target. But these people are resilient too; they still had to get on and live their life.”

Like the other Open Bodies artists, Black-Daniels’s work often focuses on gender and the body. These aspects felt heightened in Brazil, she says: “I felt an intense feeling of embodiment when I was in the city; a feeling of being watched. Being quite pale-skinned, being female, there was a feeling like I could be a target.”

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Black-Daniels attended self-defence classes primarily for members of the city’s LGBT community. She added: “What’s happening there is very much at the forefront of their minds. It felt I was in an extreme situation, and it felt important for me to show that.”

These experiences inform her Fruitmarket performance, which will involve another artist and two metal sculptural objects. “They are almost like punch pads,” Black-Daniels explains. “In Brazil I created them from sequinned fabric and they were very delicate. They are metal now as I wanted to reflect the Brutalist architecture of Rio and of being in a much harsher relationship with the ideas I’m working with.

“It was once an opulent place but now the buildings are covered in graffiti. Everything felt like it was in ruins.”

The one-off event will see Black-Daniels and McPherson’s live works performed against a backdrop of visual art from Pinto Rosa and Spinelli.

Black-Daniels adds: “I tend to avoid narrative description but from seeing all these previous actions, it will very much raise questions of devastation, of some kind of resilience, and questions of how does this female body stand in adversity to all this? Those ideas will come across but very much in a conceptual way.”

February 21, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 6pm, free but ticketed.