To help fuel that innate artistic expression, here are 5 Brazilian female artists that will inspire you to interpret the world in new ways.
While we currently have no control of our environment, we do have control of our mind and its creativity. These inspiring and revolutionary female artists give me hope. While each passing day becomes more and more uncertain, the most courageous and powerful thing we can do is take our hope and turn it into something beautiful. #TravelFromHome, find your source of hope, and share it with the world.
Tarsila do Amaral
Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) was a pioneer of the Modernism movement in Latin America. Her most famous painting, Abaporu (1928), is currently on display at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires. The title is written in Tupi, an indigenous language of Brazil.”Abapor’u”, abá (man) + poro (people) + ‘u (to eat), together means “the man that eats people”. Tarsila drew this “cannibalism” reference from her husband, Oswald de Andrade, who wrote the monumental “Cannibalist Manifesto”. Andrade’s manifesto sparked a turning point in Brazil’s art world because it encouraged Brazilian artists to differentiate themselves from European artistic standards. Tarsila did this by “consuming” European artistic techniques and mixing them with Indigenous and African ones. The product was a new era of Brazilian masterpieces similar to Abaporu.
Lygia Pape (1927-2004) was a pioneer of Brazil’s radical Neo-Concrete artistic movement. In the later stage of her career, she created Ttéia 1, C (2002). This work contains intricate golden threads that form expansive webs within a pitch black gallery. The title, Ttéia, is a pun derived from the Portuguese words for “web” (“teia”) and for “a person or thing of grace” (“teteia”). The threads create an intense illusion using light and space making the golden prisms appear either infinite or empty at certain angles. Lygia Pape’s astounding work makes the viewer extremely curious and invites them to engage with the web’s graceful, yet mysterious presence.
Anna Maria Mailino
Anna Maria Maiolino (1942-) is my girl hero! Her performance piece, Entrevidas (1981), shows a literal depiction of the expression “to walk on eggshells”. Anna’s performance feels so personal, yet extremely relevant to the feminist struggle. All women can relate to navigating through life while “walking on eggshells”, acting so poised and careful for no real reason. Here you can watch a 2017 reenactment of the performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles with Anna as a spectator.
Valeska Soares (1957-) grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. I was fortunate enough to visit her pavilion, Folly (2008), at Inhotim in Minas Gerais, Brazil. When I first entered the pavilion, I was surrounded by projections that were filmed in a glamorous 1950s ballroom designed by world class architect, Oscar Neimeyer. The projections are displayed on the pavilion’s octagonal walls and show multiple holographic solo dancers that occasionally overlap with each other. Their calm and graceful demeanor encourages visitors to join in and dance the night away.
São Paulo is covered from head to toe with street art and graffiti. Something about public art makes the big city feel more inviting, especially with works by the extraordinary street artist, Sinha. Many of the artists who fill the streets are anonymous, Sinha included. However, her female figures have such a specific and individual artistic style that blend in extremely well with their urban public setting. I love her figure’s violet colored bodies, black streaked hair, and surrealist-like body movements. The women act truly free and I get so much joy from knowing that her work is open and accessible to the public.