The Edges of Society; Visual Arts as the Countdown to Artes Mundi 3 Continues, Emily Lambert Takes a Look at the Work of Two More Artists to Have Reached the Shortlist. Vasco Araujo from Portugal and Rosangela Renno from Brazil Explore Society from the Margins

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REPRESENTING society, social behaviour and cultural stereotypes or conformity and discrimination are Vasco Araujo's subject matter.

His work draws upon characters or stories we know from European culture, literature and history - often referring to the world of opera or classic literary texts.

This is not surprising as Araujo trained as a singer and is an accomplished baritone. In many of his early works he appears disguised, singing and performing. Having trained both in music and in the plastic arts, he finally made a difficult choice and has now become one of Portugal's most exciting, emerging visual artists.

Araujo uses performance, photography, video and sculpture to investigate different aspects of the human condition.

He is like a theatre or film director, constantly inventing or redrawing characters and sets in order to construct allusions from which we can view the world around us.

In many of his films, Araujo places figures and characters within settings of significance.

For Artes Mundi he has created a new work, Augusta, which follows a conversation between two lions, using the classical sculptures found in a public park in Washington, USA.

Almost as Roman master and slave, we hear them discuss imperialism. One sets out his view while the other questions.

With its historical associations it also brings to mind the current positions taken by American politicians. Araujo is a director of plot and presentation.

His work is multi-layered, employing a wide range of references and influences - he finds ways of questioning modern society by using, and paying tribute to, the languages of past societies. Instead of drawing upon characters of the past, fellow artist Rosangela Renno draws upon old images and photographs. …