This lecture discusses the very notion of “Afro-Brazilian Art,” taking some of the relevant artistic contemporary production, studies, and emblematic exhibitions on the subject as privileged means to access the conceptual and political disputes that constitute it, as well as the contexts of creation and expography of two decisive institutions of the area, the Museu Afro-Brasileiro in Salvador (1970s) and the Museu Afro Brasil in São Paulo (2004). It aims to underly how the recent achievements and actions promoted by different fronts of contemporary Black movement and racial debates on the political and aesthetical agendas are crucial to the dynamicity (and also misunderstandings) of these circuits.
Sidney Amaral (Brazilian, 1973–2017), Gargalheira (quem falará por nós?) [Neck Leash–Who Shall Speak on Our Behalf?)], 2014. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 21 5/8 x 29 1/2 in. (55 × 75 cm).
Mônica Ventura, De amanhã para ontem (From tomorrow to yesterday), 2020. View from the show Abre-Caminhos (Open-Paths), 2020, at the Centro Cultural de São Paulo (CCSP).
Installation view of Voices Against Racism, a public program by the City of São Paulo with thirty-one artists intervening through video, installations, graphite and street posters in nearly forty different places. July–August 2020, São Paulo, Brazil.
Hélio Menezes is a curator, anthropologist, and internationalist. He is the current contemporary art curator of the São Paulo Cultural Center (CCSP). Some recent shows he organized are “Afro-Atlantic Histories” (MASP/Instituto Tomie Ohtake); “The discovery of what it means to be Brazilian" (Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago); “Open-paths (CCSP); “Mostra 2020” (CCSP); “Voices against racism” (São Paulo city); “There’s light behind the walls” (Museu de Arte Osório César), and “New Republic,” in partnership with Wolff Architects (Cape Town). He is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of São Paulo (USP), and Affiliated Scholar at Princeton University’s BrazilLab.