Ventura Profana

Portrait of Ventura Profana, Photography by Gê Viana, 2017

VENTURA PROFANA

Salvador, BA, 1993

Daughter of the mysterious entrails of mother Bahia, Ventura Profana prophesies multiplication and abundant black, indigenous and travesti life. Doctrinated in Baptist temples, she is a missionary pastor, evangelist singer, writer, composer and visual artist, whose practice is rooted in researching the implications and methodologies of deuteronomism in Brazil and abroad, through the spread of neo-Pentecostal churches.

interview by Igor Furtado, published on 28/05/2020

Ventura Profana

Lugar de Falo - Digital Collage, 2017

Ventura Profana

Baptism, a study in red - Digital Collage, 2017

In what ways did the gospel shape your childhood? What are the peculiarities of the Baptist church?

I'm an evangelical doll, as they say. Before completing my first month of life, I had already been introduced to the Lord and the congregation in the temple of the first Baptist church in Catu, my parents' hometown and where I lived until I was ten. Everything I am is grounded and justified in the gospel, so not only was my childhood shaped by faith in Christ, but all my experiences are shaped by a vision, a home, a Christian/Pauline cosmogony. It is crucial to sniff out the Baptist exordium on Bahian soil, in such a way, to know details about the discovery and the vanguard of oil exploration in the national territory, to better understand where and from whom I come. Salvador, the land where the nation's first Baptist church is built, the land where the pioneer oil well in Brazil was drilled, the mother land of the clay from which I am made a vessel, that was where I was born. Baptism creed, is the primordial ordinance, from which the denomination of the doctrine derives: to be washed, to pass through the waters, to declare to the world the death of the flesh: to kill the old man of sin so that a new creature will be spiritually reborn, imitator of Jesus Christ, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). That said, the acceptance of the Holy Scriptures as the only rule of faith and conduct; the concept of the church as a local democratic and autonomous community, made up of regenerated and biblically baptized people; the separation of church and state; absolute freedom of conscience; individual responsibility before God; and the authenticity and apostolicity of the churches are the principles defended by the Baptists.

Did the church at that time represent a form of identification, repression or both?

I was very happy in the church, also very hurt. And I feel that this is also repeated in relation to the world. World or secular is said to be that which is not church, or which is not in Christ. Many wounds, but much grace. The difference in this regard was to know the truth and to be freed. Getting closer to the nature of Christ, foreseen by Isaiah in his book (I recommend reading chapter 53), delving into the studies of the gospel of John (my grandmother Margarida's sure missionary tip), to more accurately assimilate Jesus' mission and recognizing me in it, is what saved me. From then on, my eyes were wide open to the challenges of my own ministerial call.

Ventura Profana

Pentecostal Toil For Oil To Spill,  2020

Eu Não Vou Morrer Video, 2020

How were your first contacts with the arts?

During my childhood I participated in the theatrical productions of PIB-Catu, especially in state, national and international mission campaigns, which are part of the annual calendar of the Brazilian Baptist Convention. I had the dream of joining the dance ministry commanded by Suleide, who always sang at Sunday night services (sure that she was my first pop diva). At that time, I sang a lot with a dear neighbor, who was from Universal Church. On the side of our house there was an abandoned slab where I planted my first stage and audience dreams. I always wanted to be an artist. Obviously, I had no idea of ​​the trap, the scam I was going to get into. At that time Rede Globo completely influenced people's dreams and ideals, in the countryside, so I wanted to get to know Rio de Janeiro, which ended up actually happening. This fact changes my whole story, it changes my family forever. We became a northeastern family in diaspora in the cold southeast. From then on, I was taken along paths that led me to the toil of the arts. It is important to understand that there are two ways and a very delicate junction between them. Art is not the good girl who will feed me, heal my wounds and welcome me into her home. However, I got to know sisters that day after day made me go on, guide like an animal, breathe, feel and decode the divine signs, on this track they nourish me. In that way, I found myself. I wove knits of love for the body that is the home for my soul. It was there, through the ass, that I found God again. Where our love has been restored. I hate art, an invented, reserved place, composed for the white body and being. When I say that it is a trap, I say because it is where whiteness feeds, sucks, steals and makes fun of black and indigenous people, that shit is an illusion. A ring. It is colonial, it is part of this project, it is a pillar of that plan. I don't trust art. But that was the path I held on to, the battlefield I embrace and where I focus my efforts to dream of freedom, to shed black and travesti life. Strategies for war.

Has living and moving through different cities affected your work in any way?

Rio de Janeiro has stung my whole history, since when I started living there, at twelve. It took me years to realize the amount of poison and bitterness that I had accumulated in me and that in different areas reached and devastated my family, who still lives in the city. Paris, Alcântara, Itacajá, Guriri, Alagoinhas, London, Pirapora, São Paulo, Lisbon, Belo Horizonte, being through these earthquakes affected Ventura, whom I killed. The work of living, the work of killing. All the movements, everything I saw, everything I experienced, when I tried it, what I felt when trying it and the reasons that led me to taste it, that's what we are made of. I hate Rio de Janeiro for always shattering lives, families, dreams, black eternities. I hate Belo Horizonte for its blatantly evil racist silence, this culture of devouring things quietly kills me, but I don't die. I made Lisbon hell for as long as I could. I realized in São Paulo that I was loose and alone in the world, but I witnessed the tearing of the veils of other planets, when I loved surrounded by travestis. Brasília also made me another one. This is one of my deepest desires, to keep going. When I was eight or nine years old, my father put me in a truck with one of his friends on the way to São Mateus, where my grandmother lived, it was sixteen hours away… Since then, the road has been my destiny. When I first arrived in Rio it was also in a truck. One of my dreams is to become a truck driver.

Ventura Profana

Virtuous Woman - Digital collage developed for the cover of the single Resplandescente, 2019

Ventura Profana

New Testament - Digital collage from the notes found in my first bible and in the main bible of my maternal grandmother, 2019

Restitution will be from what processes? Do you see this coming from individual or collective movements?

All that are possible and imaginable. Starting with imagination. Believing in restitution is essential, pursuing it, establishing it as an objective. As a Christian, I argue that salvation is individual (we are not able to save anyone but ourselves). The message of salvation is for everyone, but the plan of salvation is for those who are hurt, tired and overwhelmed. Restitution is for everyone who believes in power, in strength, in love, in the entirety of Deize, for the daughters of the wounded lands, for the heirs of the promises of life and eternity. The restitution for those who were persecuted, those who were plundered, reaped by the evil colonial rule of whiteness. Therefore, the restitution (unlike salvation) is necessary and substantially only possible when collectivized. Otherwise, we will follow the white colonial sinful logic. Restitution is not human, nor will it come to human beings.

Do you believe that if the figure of Jesus and Christianity were deprived of power or resignified, they would be able to transform the life of the dissidences that they intend to represent narratively? Does this liberation necessarily have to take the path of sacrifice, as a form of attack and defense, or do these means only belong to them?

I am Christ. It is in me the punishment that brings peace to whiteness. They are my sisters, those who are afflicted by you, reputed to be oppressed and wounds by God. It is yours, the iniquity that grinds us. Christ is the trava of pain, scorned, dead before the age of thirty-five. Black experienced in the works. (Isa 53: 3) We, black women, are the most rejected among men. The Christian era is the time of the cross. The law of condemnation on us, Christ. The entire colonizing process takes shape and rejoices in this plan, tuned and guaranteed in the Pauline slavery indoctrination, which legitimizes female submission and defends, among others, full obedience to the Roman Empire. Paul was Saul, persecutor of believers in Christ Jesus, a man of intelligence in Rome, writer of half of the biblical New Testament books and letters. When I reveal myself as Christ, they insist on killing me, leading me to the whipping of Golgotha. Rome is the one who kills me, and the crowd incited by the chief priests (Mr 15:11) opts for the murderer Barabbas, to me, who brings you liberation. During the last two millennia the Catholic Church has joined forces in councils, from Jerusalem (Acts 15: 1-40) to the Vatican (1962-1965), elaborating the Christian Dogmas {let us call them Roman Dogmas}, also known as the column of the Catholic faith, violently transmitted, in a viral manner, around the globe. Is viacrucis then the preamble to this path of blood and death? Perhaps the greatest colonial maneuver - improved over the centuries, especially between the medieval and renaissance periods - is the elaboration/standardization of the painted and sculpted figure of Jesus. Life becomes God, God becomes Lord. They kill me black and travesti and revive me male and white. The wolf takes possession of the lamb's skin. At this time, military expeditions under Catholic command and fueled by the feudal noble interest languish lives, knowledge, dreams, souls and lands all over the earth. Have the pioneering Crusades been abolished? Certainly not. The immeasurable accumulations of pain and suffering caused by enslavement were also not dissolved. On the contrary, the Lord reaffirms himself as sovereign God, Lord of Lords, Lord of hosts, Father of eternity, Prince of White Peace, he also occupies the space of the spiritual conductor, in the representation of the Shepherd (Ps 23: 1). Not even Christian reformulations from Protestantism were able to remedy these evils. Years ago, I sang that our bodies (trans, travestis, blacks and natives) had not left the cross, the carnations remained conjuring my hands on the wood. I am not male, not white, I will not turn white to be saved. As Paul suggests, this is Jesus' message to the nations. Holiness is a shield for whiteness, where another successful colonial maneuver lays: the implementation of the following idea: Everything which is not white is from the Devil. The Devil spies on sins by projecting his own reflection on the other. Whiteness cannot deal with its diabolical guilt. It is necessary that whiteness recognizes Christianity as a deadly invention, fueled by a sick thirst for power, for sovereignty over every living and breathing being. Christianity is the colonial core. It is cruel because we are educated to avoid, in all instances, that the face of torture falls on the body of a white man. However, the pain of black Marias in having their childs cut off from the land of the living incessantly is irrelevant. Our crying is insignificant. But I go, come and go, crying, to tell them that we are the way of the truths of life. We are God {let's start calling her Deise}, lambs without a master. The painful way, the whip, the crowns of thorns, the trunk, the calvary, the cellars and slave quarters, these means, in these sordid arrangements it is up to them. However, I do not renounce war, far from it. We continuously seek paths that present us with other precepts than those of the enemy. Other ways to exist in fullness with every being that breathes. We arm ourselves in another sense, we live in other times, we recognize ourselves in other terms. It is the Axé that saves and frees us. Who will give credit to our preaching?

Ventura Profana

The First Mass in Brazil, digital collage from the painting by Victor Meirelles, 2017

How is your research process? Do you often look at the work of other artists for inspiration, whether musical or visual?

I take care that my heart and my senses do not harden. All this web that I have built, requires sports conditioning, I am an athlete of the arts. I dive in as deep as I can, to reap the precious need, the most delicious milk. Horny is essential. And love. I am inspired by what I love, like my friends. Cassi, Casti, Rainha, Jade, Bianca, Manauara, Williane, Wallinha, are in them that I seek strength to continue. They excite me in dialogue, in hours, in the most intimate part of my being. It is where my joy and my refuges are. Bianca Kalutor, like my mother, is a general in battles, who keeps me in line. In the end, the mystery is how to prepare a vitamin. Affection in the measures, in the choice of ingredients, the exact portion of salt and sugar.. It's pure cuisine. I know a lot about the gospel universe of the last decades, I spent eighteen years immersed, dedicated and passionate about Christian culture. Gradually I migrate, syncretize, crossing this knowledge. The song of black women moves and safeguards me, Aretha Franklin, Elza Soares, absurd and unparalleled, Nina Simone, Etta James, Xenia França, Deize Cipriano, Deize Tigrona, Tati QuebraBarraco, Lauryn Hill, Mc Carol , Alcione, all these dolls nourish and medicate my soul. I'm devoted to the Knowles girls, Solange and Beyoncé, do fuck my ass a lot. I can't help writing about Nívea Soares. Nowadays she is the only gospel singer I believe in. There is an administration of her against racism and colonial wounds in her second album that chills me whole, I never saw one of these inside a church, mainly in the Church of Lagoinha, captained by Sinhá Ana Paula Valadão and her feudal family. Jota Mombaça, Bruna Kury, Michelle Mattiuzzi are like north, guidind stars in my artistic practice ... Camila Melchior, Pietra Sallisa Rosa, Gê Vianna, Davi de Jesus do Nascimento, Keroline Kemblin, Guerreiro do Divino Amor, models of artists who influence, move my desires, move me by sharpening my feelings. Jup, Verónica, Linn, Alice Guél and Monna Brutal also provoke me. Their works are balm for the ones that yearn for life in the midst of war. Finally, far from being less important, my partner in battle, Jhonatta Vicente, with whom I share the Cântico dos Cânticos project for over two years, it is beautiful to see the development of our relationship, our maturation on stage, in the studio, behind the scenes, not at all glamorous musical career. It is from this blessed union that a ministry of praise is born, committed to spreading the message of life, power and glory to the captives. But my mother and my grandmother Gaída, the memories of my grandmother Regina, of my great grandmothers, Joana, Boa and Eunice are the ones who support me, even before I could breathe.

Ventura Profana

Serious Thing Series - Digital Collage, 2017

Ventura Profana

Building Studies - Digital Collage, 2018

What does "evangelize" mean to you?

Gospel means good news, consequently evangelizing is announcing, spreading news of victoriously vivid, abundant, green times, news of salvation, in a context where the law is condemnation. In this evil time instituted by demonic whiteness, the best news is the very end of this era, of this world, of this logic, of this invention, of this perspective, since a will. That is why I believe and preach the Gospel of the End. For this reason it is necessary to divinely transition. In that sense, baptism is urgent. One must kill the male of sin, white with death, kill any remnants of his words planted in the heart of our farmland. I remember when my grandmother Margarida took me to evangelization, everywhere, at all times, in the homes of all kinds of people, the seeds were sown by what is my greatest example of faith, strength and commitment, my greatest love, greatest fuel for battles, she was the one who taught me to fulfill the greatest assignment given by Jesus to the people of "God": Go to everyone and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

How do your writing processes go? Talk a little about your first book "A cor de Catu".

The full book can be found at (https://issuu.com/porventura/docs/acordecatuimpresso_1e0636c3d9d31a)

Writing is a primary, crucial, cruel and compulsory condition of this colonial world, setting words, setting everything, to be able to have no doubts, to legitimize, to be eternal. Until yesterday, most of the individuals in my family were illiterate. Having a book published was very important for our self-esteem. A cor de Catu is my reconciliation with the root, with the land of which I am a daughter. It was also the farewell, the baptism. I hardly revisit it, but I have a lot of affection. I diagrammed, illustrated and composed every rhyme of longing delivered there. After that I was unholy reborn. I love playing with words, stripping them, molding the void with the extravagance of my dreams, fears and desires. I lived to be able to write and transfigured myself. The words overflowed me from me, making me others, so many, I dream of my dreams, even I could not foresee, I was still and am the first to dream. Better to dream than the Lord. Oh well, my great grand mother didn't read or write, but she had decorated the Bible from top to bottom. Think that the Bible is the word of the Lord. Dedicating myself to bible study has been my greatest pleasure, an inexhaustible source of inspiration, it is necessary to know the language, the movements, the secrets, each gesture of the enemy. An antidote is not produced without the poison being well known. Therefore, I believe, I guide myself and invest my hours in washing each letter, each prayer. In fact, the bible is a lamp for the feet.

Ventura Profana

Universal Body - Digital Collage, 2018

Ventura Profana

Self Portrait, 2015

How do you articulate your practice and the demands of selling your work to the visual arts market? Have you ever been forced to make concessions?

The market itself is always very cowardly and cheating. Be it financial, of visual arts or music. I am reacting in a balanced way, without deluding myself, I do not allow expectations to invade me so that my lucidity is shaken. I welcome criticisms and teachings that strengthen me and point to possibilities that I had not noticed. I have a lot of respect for the black people who came before me, the ones who broke down the doors. Based on their testimonies, I adapt and rework strategies to my travesti reality. I do my best to be prudent. Without despair. In negotiations, there are cases where concessions are needed, but there is what is not for sale and will never be. I decided that I will not die for art.

What's your next project?

There is no shortage of knots to untie, demands to handle and desires to heal. Building a congregation is a life task, a mystery ministry. We are living, in quarantine, the gestation of what I called Traquejos Pentecostais Para Matar o Senhor, the first studio album of the union with Podeserdesligado. It is the culmination of the flood of lessons and songs that have sprung up over the past three years, with the Cântico dos Cânticos project. Producing music without any financial support is having to work miracles, it is an arduous mission. Composing, recording, mixing, mastering, distributing, there are many steps up to the delivery of the work. In this milestone there were nights when I doubted if we would be able to record everything. But there is no bad weather, we open the sea, we walk on water, we turn water into wine. It required a lot of concentration and clarity from us so that the lyrics and melodies were accurate and fulfilled the task of strengthening those who have to stand firm in the war. Making music is like making homemade bombs, a chemical process, where you have to handle the available ingredients very precisely. It is time to be nuclear. Reach the core of those who lack the word of life, power and abundance. If it's not meant to be balm, oasis in the lives of those I love, what's the point? Many dreams, many! A lot of work ahead.

Ventura Profana

Psalms 23 - Digital collage for the IMS quarantine program, 2020

Ventura Profana

Wailing Council - Digital collage for the IMS quarantine program, 2020

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

Being travesti. Loving travestis. Living for them, with them. Being Alive. 

Last but not least, a important verse and praise for you?

The Bible is beautiful, you need to read it. Books gathered with great insight, undeniably a source of inspiration. I love: "Those who live in the hiding place of the highest, in the shade of the omnipotent, will rest." Damn!!!! Rest, protection and housing is all we want and need. And we deserve it!!! But there is a biblical passage that for me is the most sacred and urgent: "Starting from the asshole, taking it as a foundation. Thus, those who build transcend the cross. That is, life is in the asshole reconciling the world to themselves, not imputing to them his sins, and has put the word of reconciliation in us, so that we are ambassadors on the part of the ass. As if life begs for us, so we beg you, on the part of the ass, to be reconciled with life. Some were appointed for apostles, some for prophets, others for evangelists, and others for pastors and teachers, in order to prepare the profane for the work of the ministry, so that the body may be built up, until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of the asshole, and we reach maturity, reaching the measure of fullness."

As I am greedy, instead of one, I chose ten: 

1- Portões Celestiais, Rose Nascimento

 2- Jerusalém e eu, Denise Cerqueira

3- Faraó ou Deus, Shirley Carvalhaes

 4- Muita Unção, Cassiane

5- Ricky Dillard & New G - There Is No Way, featuring Nikki Ross (#blackgospelexcellence)

6- You Brought The Sunshine, The Clark Sisters

7- ABC do Crente Fiel, Grupo Ellas 

8- Clame a Deus, Grupo Ellas 

9- Deixo a Tristeza, Raiz Coral 

10- Santificação, Elaine Martins 

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The Kingdom is Theirs by VIDAFODONA, 2017