Carlos Zílio, Identity ignored

By Nayani Real

Carlos Zílio was born in 1944, in Rio de Janeiro. A psychologist graduated from UFRJ, he became a Doctor of Arts from the University of Paris VIII, during his exile in the 1980s. Before that, between 1960 and 1970, he actively participated in the opposition to the dictatorial military regime installed in Brazil, through an art engaged and political militancy.

in your work unknown identity, 1974, Zílio addresses the disappearances during the military dictatorship in Brazil. The image, however, becomes current and relevant at a time when diversity and identity struggles are fought and censored by the State and conservative social groups.

In the last 20 years, a culture of recognition, appreciation of the other, inclusion and respect for individuality  and the diversity of social groups, made enormous advances in Brazil and in the world. Gender issues and different political positions found space in democratic society. Today, the (re) rise of conversational and extreme right-wing thoughts question contemporary behaviors, using authoritarian and reductionist discourses.


Marked 🇧🇷 Claudia Andujar

By Marcos Grinspum Ferraz

For the doctors who accompanied Claudia Andujar in the Yanomami territories in the early 1980s, the photos should be simple records of the inhabitants of that Amazon region. Like the Yanomami Indians had no proper names, the numbers on the plates around their necks would serve as identification so that professionals could do the necessary public health work. Given the growing contact with the white man, vaccination became urgent so that epidemics would not decimate the Yanomami. For doctors, “it should have been a click and it was over”, as Andujar recounted years later. "But for me it couldn't be like that." In fact, the series Marked it is much more than identification work. The gestures, expressions and looks of the Yanomami, captured by Andujar's camera, reveal the artist's work not only ethical, but also aesthetic, with her ability to present objective and subjective worlds, to capture subtleties and violence, hopes and tragedies, bodies and souls. . No wonder the photos have been part of so many exhibitions over the decades, including the Bienal de São Paulo, they became part of the collection of the photographer's pavilion in Inhotim and became a book. Marked – to live or die? – reveals an Indian world that, always threatened, seems to be at even greater risk when an elected president says he is against land demarcations and promises to end the “poority” of minorities. Against such violence and ignorance, it is worth remembering the words of anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: “We have to learn to be Indians, before it's too late. Learn how to live in a country without destroying it, how to live in a world without destroying it, and how to be happy without needing a credit card. The encounter with the Indian world takes us to the future, not to the past”. In images, Claudia Andujar seems to make this same statement.

Project Brazil never again 🇧🇷 D. Paulo Evaristo Arns

By Fabio Cypriano

During the 1970s, around 50 people in the busiest weeks looked for the then Cardinal of São Paulo, D. Paulo Evaristo Arns, in search of missing relatives. “Do you have any news of my son's whereabouts?” was a phrase that the cardinal heard over and over again.

On his initiative, inspired by the hundreds of testimonies collected at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of São Paulo, in Higienópolis, but in a network that integrated leaders of other religions, journalists and lawyers, the Brazil Never Again Project, in August 1979. Until March 1985, in secrecy, a group worked on 850 pages of proceedings by the Superior Military Court for the publication of a report and a book, which revealed the seriousness of human rights violations promoted by political repression during the military dictatorship. Launched in 1985, the book remained on the top ten bestseller list for 91 consecutive weeks, becoming – at the time – the best-selling Brazilian non-fiction book of all time. Today, the Project has a digital version available at


Mission/Missions – How to Build a Cathedral 🇧🇷 Cildo Meireles

By Leonor Amarante

One of my favorite political works is the installation Mission/Missions – How to Build a Cathedral, made by Cildo Meirelles in 1987. The work reinforces the idea that the artist has a moral commitment to denounce political and social atrocities in any country, at any time. In this installation, Cildo points out the genocidal practices of the Catholic Church in its Jesuit Missions started in 1610 in Brazil, Paraguay and  Argentina. In an attempt to evangelize the region's Indians, force and violence were combined, which exterminated part of them. In the installation, the link between the two structures, one made of bones and the other of coins, is built with hosts that link the golden floor to the macabre sky, in frank denunciation of the Church's power relations. The controversial work is now part of the collection of Daros-Latinamerica, in Zurich, Switzerland.


Operation Tutoia 🇧🇷 Fernando Piola

By Maria Hirszman

“Operação Tutoia”, work carried out in 2007 and 2008 by Fernando Piola, strongly challenges the strategy of silencing around the apparatus of repression and explains, through a slow process of subversion of appearances, the violent character of symbolic institutions of the dictatorship, like Doi-Codi. For months, the artist worked at 921 Rua Tutoia, in São Paulo, performing as a landscaper. And, week by week, he replaced the plants in the garden with different species of red color, transforming the surroundings of the former headquarters of the center responsible for the detention and torture of thousands of people and the murder of 50 opponents of the regime in the stage of a daring action of intervention. urban, political denunciation and poetic investigation.

The action subverted the space of the forces of power and made visible what  it was intended to be swept away from history and memory. The photographic records (the definitive form of an ephemeral work by nature) now belong to the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC). And they show how the dyeing of the landscape in red, a color so full of symbolism, was little by little making concrete, pulsating and real the necessary awareness, not only in relation to the brutality committed in that place (which even today, surprisingly, harbors the city's 36th Police District), but to the neglect of a dark period in our history.


Settlement 🇧🇷 Rosana Paulino

By Jamyle Rkain

What I find most beautiful about Rosana Paulino's work Assentamento is how it goes beyond a broader issue of how enslaved blacks had to rebuild themselves to fit into an unknown place to which they were taken. I especially like to look at it from a perspective that specifically thinks about black women in society.  The photograph of the unknown woman recorded by the Thayer expedition, between 1865 and 1866, refers to a slave. Rosana intervenes in the photograph in her form, sectioning it and superimposing the idea of ​​sewing on it, while the heart bleeds. This leads me to the discussions that black movements also bring, in a more contemporary way, about the loneliness of black women. This subject, much discussed by black feminisms, takes care to reflect on how the heterosexual black woman is easily abandoned by men in a loving relationship, regardless of white or black, because they are placed by society in a diminutive position. Perhaps this sewing can also be the gathering of the pieces in such a situation. I see this discussion as essential, although it is deprecated. I point this out because I believe that even though the work brings a more historical perspective, it also shows contemporary perspectives on issues of black militancy that are urgent.


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