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Sunday, 23 Feb 2020

When Brazil traveled around the world.

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64rf6In remembrance of the quincentennial of the arrival of the Portuguese to the largest Latin American country, Brazil organized an exhibition that after several months at home traveled around the world to show the foremost selection of artworks created in Brazil from pre-Columbian times to our days.

In remembrance of the arrival of the Portuguese to the largest Latin American country 500 years ago, Brazil organized and exhibited the most comprehensive, exalted and largest-ever collection seen by Brazilians of visual artworks created from pre-Columbian to our times. The exhibition ‘Rediscovery: Brazil 500 years’ houses 15 thousand pieces in 13 sections,embracing pre-Columbian to contemporary art, colorful popular creations, religious imagery, as well as barroque and famous modern Brazilian paintings.

An estimated number of three million visitors admired the collection during the public exhibition period. They also appreciated the month-long endeavor of curators, scenographers, actors, historians, archeologists, antropologists, and producers who jointly demonstrated in one sole exhibition that in São Paulo as well as in Rio de Janeiro  excellent results can be achieved by the common effort of government and the private sector.64rf3

The exhibition’s mission encompassed a continuous itinerance to diverse spots of the planet, based on collections that include catalogs and the webpage www.br500anos.com.br. The countries to be visited by this historical and contemporary beauty of the largest Latin American nation included Chile, Argentina, United States (New York and Washington), England (London and Oxford), Paris and Lisbon, that is, a total number of 17 museums, at which at least ten million visitors would see it.

Exhibited in Brazil during several months, the colletion undoubtedly was the most complete one ever shown: It included the totality of subject matters prepared months before the opening. For instance, the section on indigenous art showed a great number of objects for different functions, meanings and origins. The public could observe what the Brazilian pre-Columbians manufactured for diverse  aspects of their existence, such as everyday life, body ornamentation and war: An assortment of weaponry and warring elements together with ritual, shamanic objects,and musical instruments.

Another section with 17th and 18th century artworks presented the correlation between the project of colonial dominion and the action of the Church by means of a series of objects and religious images manufactured in convent workshops and used as vehicles to propagate the Catholic faith.  Worthy of mention among the authors are the names of Manuel Inacio da Costa and Antonio Francisco Lisboa, better known as O Aleijadinho (The Little Cripple).

Particularly interesting was the special section of Afro-Brazilian Art 'Black Body and Soul’, a reflection on the place in the country’s society and culture of that race, represented by artifacts and paintings of F.J.Stöber, Roberto da Silva, Benedicto José Tobías  and others.

But what undoubtedly attracted the greatest number of visitors was the module exhibiting the Brazilian version of popular art, a universe of artworks, most of which are anonymous and according to the curators is ‘the most authentic expression of the people’: Paintings, figures, sculptures, and other bits and pieces, the main characteristic of which is their cheerful, sparkling  color. Sebastião and Zica Bergami were among the best-known artists of this module.

Modern and contemporary artworks were housed in two modules. The first one showed the followers of Anita Malfatti, a movement that arose in Brazil after the exhibition of her creations, while the second one presented artists in full production, some of which are not only known within the country because their names appear recurrently at international art fairs and exhibitions.

Photo captions:
"Lygia Clark, Modulated Surface N°5"
"Emiliano di Cavalcanti,Fling"
"Cándido Portinari,Mestizo"
"Hitor Dos Praceres,Dance"
"Anonymous, Mask"

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