In 2019, the city of Sao Paulo received an itinerant exhibition on the Tietê River’s polluted waters. The 40-meter long inflatable artwork navigated all along the state capital’s main river, as an alert to society on the current degradation of its waters and the need to recover that important urban element of Sao Paulo, which could be integrated into the daily lives of city dwellers as an urban mobility space.
This intervention comprised a sculpture in the shape of a freshwater fish of theTiger Fish species, which used to thrive in the region before the river’s waters were contaminated. According to the artist, the exhibition symbolized the Piracema phenomenon, which in Tupi language means “fish upstream swim”, when fish swim against the tide to reach their reproduction site.
"The Tietê River’s source is about 20 km away from the Atlantic Ocean, but it runs towards the hinterland and it was fundamental for indigenous peoples and the first explorers, and for the very formation of the city of Sao Paulo. The Pintado intervention reminds us of the lost colors and shapes the true Tietê River used to have, and also promotes a future with more oxygen in its waters. That is why it depicts a large mouth striving to breath”.
Srur says he was shocked when he was told by the workers assigned to drain the river, during the week when the artwork was being assembled, that a fish species similar to the Tiger Fish could still be seen swimming in the Tietê River in the areas around the capital city. “When they showed me a picture of the fish, I felt a mix of sadness and hope, of seeing the struggle for life and the strength of nature under any circumstance.
During the last week of the exhibition, when the Tietê River Day was celebrated, Srur navigated along the river with his artwork. The idea was to provoke a reflection on mobility along the river. “The Tietê River is navigable and that would provide for integration in the city’s daily life. I suspected the Tiger Fish intervention would reach its destination much before the thousands of drivers and commuters locked in traffic along the river’s marginal expressways.”
Inflatable, floating platform and solar power system with LEDs.
38 x 12 x 7 meters
“I’ll be the first guy in Sao Paulo to fish in the Pinheiros River in the 21st century.”
In 2017, the Tiger Fish sculpture navigated for the first time on the Pinheiros River’s polluted waters.
Just as previously done in the Tietê River (2019), this intervention teased society to throw a new look on the contamination of that river’s waters.
For this edition, the artwork employed solar energy to keep the sculpture inflated during navigation.
Srur conceived the Fish Market visual exhibition, at the Pinheiros train station, where more than 200 thousand people circulate every day. This installation comprised fish market counters with sculptures made of waste and depicting different fish species. This exhibition also offered free workshops to bystanders.
“If society is not able to take care of the Pinheiros River, the Tiger fish will remind us that art is a possible path. The artist does not provide the fish, he teaches people to fish.”