The Digital Brazil Project is thrilled to present our second annual virtual exhibition, which will be on view for the 2021–2022 academic year. This year’s exhibition is curated by art historian Gillian Sneed, PhD, the new Assistant Professor of Art History in SDSU’s School of Art + Design, and an Associated Faculty member of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies. Dr. Sneed’s exhibition, titled Constructed Identities/Layered Histories: Contemporary Collage in Brazil, explores works of collage and photomontage (both analog and digital) by four emerging Brazilian contemporary artists who use these media to create images of people and the human body that explore race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender and sexuality, as well as the legacies of colonialism in Brazil.
Constructed Identities / Layered Histories: Contemporary Collage in Brazil
Brazilian contemporary visual art has recently witnessed a new generation of artists who have returned to the early 20th century artistic strategies of collage and photomontage. Since their origins in European modernist movements like Dada, these media have often been instrumentalized as politicized artistic approaches in times of social crisis or upheaval. But their visual logic – rooted in a combination of fragmentation and suture – also gives them the potential to reveal new insights on cultural, racialized, gendered, and postcolonial identities through their capacity to explore juxtapositions of fact and fiction, past and present, and self and other. This is particularly true of the work of our four featured Brazilian artists who explore portraiture, ethnographic imagery, pop culture, and figural representations of the body in their collages: Denilson Baniwa, Laíza Ferreira, Moara Tupinambá, and Thaís Silva.
All of these artists explore the intersections between traditional cultures and contemporary pop culture, ways to decolonize image archives, and modes of reanimating ancestral memories in order to expose and resist colonial legacies of racism and exploitation. A close reading of their source images and approaches to juxtaposing imagery ultimately reveal the fact that identity is never completely stable and is constantly being negotiated and produced in complex relationships with other subjects, territories, histories, traditions, and memories.
Each month of the fall 2021 semester, we will introduce a new artist including a curated selection of images of their works and an in-depth interview with them about their practices. The first Artist Spotlight will be launched in early October and will be dedicated to Denilson Baniwa, followed by Laíza Ferreira in late October, Moara Tupinambá in November, and Thaís Silva in December. This virtual exhibition will be on view for the entirety of the 2021-2022 academic year, so check back regularly!