by Regina Vater

The installation CAMÕES’ FEAST is based on a story about Camões, the legendary Portuguese Renaissance poet whose importance in the formation of the Portuguese language is comparable to that of Chaucer and Shakespeare for English.
According to old accounts Camões, who owed favors to some members of the Portuguese court, decided to entertain them with a dinner. Since Camões was a "starving artist", he asked a friend to lend him his best silverware and his most precious china. When his guests were seated at the table, they noticed that all the dishes were turned upside down. Camões, then, started the festivity with some words of gratitude for all the support he had received from them and asked his guests to turn over their plates, saying that the banquet was about to start.
Underneath each dish the guests found a poem especially written for each one by the poet himself.
To their complete surprise, Camões declared:
- "My most honorable friends, the feast is all yours: If I nourish you with poetry, it is with the hope that you never stop feeding me with material food."
This artist book completes the installation, which consists of a table set for eight guests, where each dish is engraved with a different stanza by a renowned living Brazilian poet..
I agree with the philosopher who said that poetry is the mother of philosophy. Because of that, poetry has been one of the main sources of inspiration for my art. Born in a family of poets I spent my formative years in Brazil. There, since I was very young, thanks to a precocious career as an artist (I moved to the United States in 1980 when I got a Guggenheim Fellowship,) I met and made friends with Brazil's most respected poets. I definitively see my art not only as an object of contemplation, but a medium where philosophical ideas are at play. Through beauty,
I want to invite the spectator to be in contact with the philosophical questions that I ask myself in my work. I hope that these questions will inspire growth and improvement in the sensibility and consciousness of the viewer as much as they do for myself.