AboutAfroBrazil is a three-day celebration of Afro-Brazilian culture, and will include a visual arts exhibition of works by artists from CAPA (Afro-Brazilian Artists Association), photographs by Walter Firmo, the screening of short documentaries by Leonardo Pirovano, as well as a conference on African culture in Brazil. The importance of AfroBrazil is twofold: it resides in its capacity to quench the thirst for Brazilian art amongst both foreigners and Brazilians and it also allows a more considered and discerning reading of the country's History of Art.
âAfroBrazil' exhibition / PV 16 Sept, 6-8pm / Exhibition continues until 2 Oct
CAPA congregates visual artists, most of whom come from the most deprived Brazilian communities, giving support to them. Such communities are true creative caldrons producing the most authentic manifestations of popular culture in Brazil. Many of the artists are originally from the rural areas from the Vale do Paraà ba, between the States of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, and who left their hometowns quite early in their lives to come and live on the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro. Indeed, they have followed in the footsteps of their ancestors, coming along the same routes used in the exodus of the freed slaves after the abolition of slavery.
Bucolic scenes of the slums and visual references to their childhood in the countryside are represented in their work. Their art also depicts other manifestations of popular culture such as roda de samba (game-like dancing and singing in a circle), carnival as well as other expressions of popular culture filled with faith and devotion derived from Afro-Brazilian religions and their syncretism.
Walter Firmo, master photographer now in his 70s, with over fifty years of practice in photography and a CAPA member since its creation, used his lenses to portray the visual poetry of the CAPA artists.
Cinema screening* / 17 Sept, 6.30pm
A double-bill including âNzinga' (Brazil, 2006), by Otávio Bezerra, and a short documentary by CAPA member, Leonardo Pirovano: âFirmo on CAPA' (Brazil, 2008).
´Nzinga´ focuses on the history of African influences in Brazilian music in three States (Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro), while ´Firmo on CAPA´ is an audio-visual record of the encounter between the master photographer Walter Firmo and the artists whose works will be on display at Gallery 32.
âAfrican Culture in Brazil'* / 18 Sept, 2.30pm
This conference will bring together recognised specialists from both Brazil and the UK. The topics to be covered will offer insights into pre-colonial Africa and historical sources such as mediaeval Arabic inscriptions, the Timbuktu Chronicles and African oral narratives. In particular, there will be discussion about the textuality of Yoruba oral traditions and the notions of self articulated by oriki and other oral literary genres.
The seminar will also consider the South American side of the African diaspora, examining the role of black men and women as creators of culture in the diaspora, under repressive conditions which nevertheless failed to reduce them to historical insignificance. The event will be of interest not just to academics and students but also to the public at large British, Brazilians and Africans resident in London, and indeed anyone who has an interest in African or Brazilian culture.
Participants will include:
Prof. Paulo Farias and Prof. Karin Barber, University of Birmingham
Prof. Francisco Bethencourt and Prof. David Treece, King's College London
Prof. Olivia Gomes da Cunha, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
*Attendance to these events is free, but booking is essential: firstname.lastname@example.org
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