VIA Arts Prize – 2019 Winner’s Solo Show

Tropikos by Antonio Társis


About the TROPIKOS series:

When artist Antonio Társis moved from the city of Salvador, Bahia, to London in 2019, researching a new body of work, he noticed the boxes of fruit made from cardboard present especially at the street markets of Dalston, Peckham and Whitechapel. These boxes were similar to those found at the free markets in Brazil, but with new and different illustrations. The artist noted that, besides the beauty of the images, printed on the boxes in a simple, industrial way, proper to large-scale production; there was also a symbolic narrative of colonisation, and neocolonisation, of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Fruit sold on European markets is imported from Latin America, Africa and Asia and follow the same routes once used for the spice trade, the expropriation of gold, silver, precious stones and the art of ancient populations; and for the trafficking of millions of enslaved people. These images printed on the boxes also reveal the endurance of patterns that challenge us to this day.

Társis then began collecting discarded cardboard boxes at the time of closing the street markets, in a process common to his work – several of the artist’s projects were produced using materials found in the streets of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. After collecting the boxes, Társis removed fragments of images of fruits, symbols, letters and geometric shapes printed on the cardboard, producing collages that resulted in the Coloured Export series – exhibited at Set Studios in Dalston and subsequently awarded with the VIA Arts Prize in 2019. The following year, in a Coloured Export development, the artist produced the series of works entitled Tropikos: presenting works in digital format, created from scanned images of fruit boxes in abstract compositions with pictorial interferences.

Tropikos is the series produced by the artist Antonio Társis, for his solo show at the VIA Arts Prize Online Exhibition in 2020.