21-Year-Old Artist Wants To Be Basquiat And Leave Instagram For Brick-And-Mortar Galleries

Samuel de Saboia presents sculptures and embroideries in new solo show "Guardians"

Giuliana Mesquita
São Paulo

In 2019, it's not enough to only be a great artist. At 21 years old, Samuel de Saboia, from Pernambuco, knows that. He has to be a character that has an excellent social media presence, understands and engages with his audience and captivates those around him. All of that is now part of the job.

Sarmurr is how he became known on Instagram. "I left the inner city and always wanted to be a great young artist," he says.

Saboia grew up in a poor neighborhood in Recife. "We lived well until we didn't," he described. During the good times, he learned English and French. From his parents, who are evangelical pastors, he took to reading and the Bible.

Artist Samuel de Saboia

Fashion is another crucial element to understand Saboia's popularity online and offline. He built his style by digging for finds at thrift shops in São Paulo, New York or Paris.

That is another taste he inherited from his parents. His mother always sews clothes and is a fan of Chanel and Pucci. His father that Saboia defines as a “consumerist” also made a point of being well dressed.
"Fashion appears in my work through color, texture and brush movement," he says.

Sarmurr has been called "the new Basquiat." The comparison with the US painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is inevitable. Not only for the drawing style, but also by the nickname SAMO Basquiat used to sign his art on the walls of abandoned buildings in the late 1970s New York.

His first solo show, "Beautiful Crimes," revolved around the deaths of five close friends in homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic crimes, was staged in New York in late 2018. His new show, "Guardians," follows up with the theme of death, and opens on Thursday (31st), at Galeria Emmathomas, São Paulo.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV
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