From Thursday, November 24 to Sunday, November 27, 2022, TOPO hosted in its studio a photographic exhibition by Léo Sanches, Homesick Brasil. The title of Léo Sanches’ photographic project refers to the feeling of belonging to one’s country of origin that is deeply rooted in his integration process in Quebec.
Driven by the need to get closer to his roots, the artist met in Montreal with other people from Brazil in order to address the ambivalent nostalgia inherent to immigration. It is in the midst of these friendly and informal encounters that this series of portraits and audio recordings was made, at a time when the fragility of social and family ties was strongly felt. The Covid-19 pandemic, by disrupting the normal course of life, has broken the routine and accentuated the homesickness for many people.
This exhibition is the result of a research and creation residency supported by the Montreal Arts Council’s DémART program, which aims to support the participation of diverse artists in arts organizations. During his residency, the artist was constantly confronted with the time disruptions of Covid-19, the instructions of distancing and isolation, while pursuing a personal photographic exploration aimed at developing his skills in photography, with a media perspective. His encounters with other people of Brazilian origin have enriched his reflection on the subject of attachment, to the sometimes anecdotal referents that recall the memorable and unalterable bond of life before, in another country.
As an immigrant, there is not a day when Leonardo Sanches does not feel close or far the moments of life spent in his country of origin, while leading his journey of integration as a stage technician in audiovisual and father of a young family.
The series of seven photographs on display were accompanied by audio testimonials from interviews conducted during the photo sessions.
Leo Sanches has always been curious. As a child, one of the things that fascinated him the most was his mother’s little camera. It was very simple, but it represented for him the possibility of seeing the world with another eye, like a magic object. Days of playing with this camera were to become part of his mind and paved the way for his career.
Leo Sanches moved to Montreal in 2012 in search of new opportunities. This new life offered him more freedom to experiment with personal projects. However, his immigration status has raised many questions. It has transformed him and his photographic practice, now carrying a more personal message, exploring the experience and wounds of immigration.