The discovery of what it means to be Brazilian: Group Exhibition Curated by Hélio Menezes

1 February - 21 March 2020

The title is an homage to James Baldwin’s famous essay (1959), The discovery of what it means to be an American, uniting recent work of contemporary Black Brazilian artists Jaime Lauriano, No Martins, Aline Motta, Éder Oliveira and Tiago Sant'Ana. The exhibition reflects Baldwin’s views on race, identity traps, and the necessity to free ourselves of myths in order to reveal who we really are.

As the country with the largest African diaspora in the world and the last one to abolish slavery in the Americas, Brazil is now facing its colonial past and present. Recognition, resistance and empowerment movements of marginalized communities have never been so strong and creative, pushing Brazil to rediscover its heritages, review its history and redefine its future. The emergence of Black Brazilian artists has breathed new life into the contemporary art scene, addressing critical and authorial approaches, challenging notably white elitist art and political canons.

The discovery of what it means to be Brazilian, presents Brazil’s new visual expressions, both marginal and at the heart of the country’s matter. Making deliberate use of art as a form of expression and resistance on both political and aesthetic dimensions, these artists undress Brazil of fetishes and fantasies of idyllic scenarios or carnaval festivities, exposing aspects of a country in transformation of its own meanings.