Brinquedos à Mão: Playtime is Culture

Brazilian toys

Caixa Cultural has an exhibition called Brinquedos à Mão, a collection of 900 handmade toys from northeastern and rural Brazil. Although I don’t have the same connection or sense of nostalgia as possibly other people at the exhibit, I still enjoy seeing how culture is manifested through traditional toys. Which one’s your favorite?

brazilian toys

Puppets

brinquedos2

brinquedos3

The floral material is a traditional Brazilian cloth called chita.

brinquedos4

It's hard to see, but the doll on the right is playing the triangle.

It’s hard to see, but the doll on the right is playing the triangle.

brinquedos6brinquedos7

Bumba Meu Boi

Bumba Meu Boi

brinquedos9brinquedos10brinquedos11brinquedos12brinquedos13

Alright, so not all of them are traditional. The two on the right are called cangaçeiros.

Alright, so not all of them are traditional. The two on the right are called cangaçeiros.

I wish i had this parque de diversão as a kid!

I wish i had this parque de diversão as a kid!

brinquedos17brinquedos-barcos

"So this is life..."

“So this is life…”

Brazilian dollhouse, complete with its rede, or hammock

Brazilian dollhouse, complete with its rede, or hammock

brinquedos-cozinha

brinquedos-palha

These are tiny as well.

brinquedos-ollasbrinquedos-ollas2brinquedos-panelasbrinquedos-mae

I refer to this one as Freddie Mercury.

I refer to this one as Freddie Mercury.

brinquedos-passaro

I looked this game up and it's sort of similar to jacks.

I looked this game up and it’s similar to jacks.

brinquedos-passaros

Wooden puppets

Wooden puppets

A little hard to see because of the glass casing, but it depicts the dry sertão in the northeast.

The dry sertão in the northeast.

 

Advertisements

Mermaids, Migrants and Maps: The Beauty of Brazilian Xilogravura

One type of Brazilian art I was immediately enamored with is xilogravura, or woodcut. It’s a printmaking technique where a design is carved onto a block of wood, and the negative space is removed with a gouge. It’s most popular in Northeastern Brazil, where artists tend to depict a mix of daily life and folklore, with a whimsical spirit.

Caixa Cultural at Praça da Sé currently has an exhibit dedicated to Pernambucan artist Gilvan Samico. Samico’s work stands apart from other artists because of the incredible detail in his works, often employing biblical characters and mythological creatures.

Gilvan Samico

Rumores de Guerra em Tempos de Paz (Rumors of War in Times of Peace) – 2001

Gilvan Samico

A Bela e a Fera (Beauty and the Beast) – 1996

Gilvan Samico

O Rapto do Sol (The Kidnapping of the Sun) – 1960

This photo didn't turn out great, I know, but I wanted to include it anyway because it's a beautiful scene.

This photo didn’t turn out great, I know, but I wanted to include it anyway because it’s a beautiful scene. Três Mulheres e a Lua (Three Women and the Moon) – 1959

Caixa has another exhibit entitled Alma Brasileira: 100 Anos de Gravura, celebrating the tradition of woodcut and engravings by various Brazilian artists.

Pernambucano J. Borges is one of the most famous xilogravura artists.

Pernambucano J. Borges is one of the most famous xilogravura artists. O Sonho do Medroso (The Coward’s Dream)

This scene depicts the migration of nordestinos to  southeast Brazil, a common theme in xilogravura and Northeast Brazilian art.

This scene depicts the migration of nordestinos to southeast Brazil, a common theme in xilogravura and Northeast Brazilian art. Os Aretirantes (The Migrants)

Brasil 1500 - 1996, by Anna Bella Geiger (1996)

Brasil 1500 – 1996, by Anna Bella Geiger – 1996

Histórias

Exposição Histórias Mestiças, Instituto Tomie Ohtake

The Instituto Tomie Ohtake recently opened their newest exhibition Histórias Mestiças, or Mestizo Histories. While the word history in English mostly refers to past, factual events, in Portuguese história has a more broad meaning to include both factual and fictional, public or personal accounts.

This exhibit is based on the notion that there are multiple histories that occur, not just a singular narrative. These histórias are shown through a variety of paintings, textiles, photographs, sculptures, historical documents and other objects. The organization of these objects is key: instead of being grouped by culture or time period, they are grouped by theme. There are seven in total: trails and maps, encounters and dis-encounters, masks and portraits, cosmologies and national emblems, rites and religions, work, weavings and graphic inscriptions. The result is seeing, for example, the myriad of ways work has occurred in Brazil, with torture devices used on slaves displayed next to indigenous peoples’ hunting tools.

Histórias Mestiças are marginal and subaltern, anthropophagic and post-colonial, multiple and inconstant, fractured and transversal histories; they are histories of flow and reflux, full of segregation, prejudice and discrimination. As we reestablish connections with other matrices, we rewrite histories of the past and propose new ones for the future.

-Adriano Pedrosa, curator

The exhibition runs from August 16 to October 5.

mesticas

Cosmologies and National Emblems

mestica2

Rites and Religions

Olodumaré; not a textile but actually an acrylic painting!

Oxumaré by Caetano de Almeida; not a textile but actually an acrylic painting!

Tanga or loincloth

Tanga or loincloth in Weavings

Slaves' shackles; presented in the Work section

Slaves’ shackles; presented in Work

Indigenous spatulas, used to flip over manioc cake.

Indigenous spatulas, used to flip over manioc cake.

Nego Bom (literally "Good Black") is a banana candy. With each numbered worker here, you learned their monthly salary, how many people were in their family and other info.

Nego Bom (literally “Good Black”) is a banana candy. With each numbered worker here, you learned their monthly salary, how many people were in their family and other info.

Each tube is labeled with a skin color.

Each tube is labeled with a skin color.

Retrato Silenciado (Silenced Portrait) by Dalton Paula. Notice their eyes are closed.

Retrato Silenciado (Silenced Portrait) by Dalton Paula. Notice their eyes are closed.

Part of the Masks and Portraits section.

Part of Masks and Portraits.

Slave's passport

Slave’s passport

Map of Brazil from 1565. The Rio de la Plata (which is southwest of Brazil, between Argentina and Uruguay) is labeled on the northwest part. The top portion is labeled Terra Non Descoberta, or Undiscovered Territory.

Map of Brazil from 1565. The Rio de la Plata (which is southwest of Brazil, between Argentina and Uruguay) is labeled on the northwest part. The top portion is labeled Terra Non Descoberta, or Undiscovered Territory.

Encounters and Dis-encounters section. The top row is a series of drawings by an indigenous artist. The second row is a series of paintings done by a European artist of indigenous Brazilians during colonial times. The last row is a series of photographs taken by a Swiss- Brazilian photographer during the 1980s when Brazil was taking measures to distribute vaccines. Because this particular tribe do not have any known names, they were given numbers for government records.

Encounters and Dis-encounters. The top row is a series of drawings by an indigenous artist. The second row is a series of paintings done by a European artist of indigenous Brazilians during colonial times. The last row is a series of photographs taken by a Swiss- Brazilian photographer during the 1980s when Brazil was taking measures to distribute vaccines. Because this particular tribe do not have any known names, they were given numbers for government records.