"Wheel of Animals" exhibition

Sat02Mar(Mar 2)11:00sun26May(May 26)19:00"Wheel of Animals" exhibitionThe exhibition brings together works from Lira Marques' entire career, who over the last three decades has been extracting clay from the slopes of Minas Gerais to produce ceramics and natural pigments for her paintings and sculptures.Tomie Ohtake Institute, Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 201, Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP


With a production deeply marked by the imagery of the semi-arid region of Minas Gerais, the artist stands out for developing a unique language, painting on stones or on paper, beings that inhabit her universe. The exhibition is sponsored by Oliver Wyman, Dasa, Instituto SYN and Shopping Tietê Plaza, through the Municipal Secretariat of Culture of São Paulo, via the Municipal Support Program for Cultural Projects and the Ministry of Culture, via the Culture Incentive Law.

The show at Tomie Ohtake Institute, the first institutional of his career, is divided between the three rooms to the left of the large hall. In the first, round, there are paintings on river pebbles and other works on paper. The second features different groups of works and families of animals, bringing together a large part of the works presented in the exhibition, while the third room, in addition to presenting works from the beginning of Maria Lira's career, is dedicated above all to contextualizing her work and its connection with the Jequitinhonha Valley, through documents, objects, songs and photographs. A short film produced especially for the exhibition, showing his songs, trajectory and work, completes the exhibition.

Born in Araçuaí, in the Jequitinhonha Valley, Maria Lira is 78 years old, a ceramicist, painter and self-taught researcher. His interest in clay began during his childhood, watching his mother create nativity scenes in raw clay to give as gifts to neighbors. It was with the beeswax that her father used in his shoe shop that she molded her first objects. Later, she learned the craft from her neighbor Joana, a potter who taught her how to correctly collect clay and burn it in a wood-fired oven.

With the help of books lent by family and neighbors, he began to produce busts, which were quickly replaced by works that portray the complex reality of his region, historically marked by poverty. In the 70s, he met Frei Chico, a Dutch missionary who became his great friend and professional partner. Together, they began to document the cultural memory of Jequitinhonha, recording traditional songs and prayers.

Affected by tendonitis, Maria Lira switches from sculptures to painting, using clay in different shades as pigment to draw her animals. According to Paulo Miyada, “The animals of Lira's hinterland live in the imaginative landscape that is formed in the resonance between the artist and the territory. They sit on the rounded surface of river pebbles, outlined between stains made of water, glue and mineral pigments. They reappear framed in planes of shades of red, ochre, white and yellow, alone or in groups, often next to rune symbols that translate more-than-human elements. They are earth animals, they mark themselves on the earth, and are always pregnant with movement”, she comments.

Exhibition | Wheel of Animals
From March 02th to May 26th
Tuesday to Sunday, from 11pm to 19pm


March 2, 2024 11:00 - May 26, 2024 19:00(GMT-03:00)


Tomie Ohtake Institute

Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 201, Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP

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Paulo Miyada

Paulo Miyada is a curator and researcher of contemporary art. Graduated in Architecture and Urbanism from FAU-USP, he has a master's degree in History of Architecture and Urbanism from the same institution. He was curatorial assistant for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo, in 2010, and was part of the team of curators at Rumos Artes Visuais at Itaú Cultural, between 2011 and 2013. He is currently chief curator at Instituto Tomie Ohtake, and coordinator of the Center for Research and Curation of the same institute. In 2021, he began serving as assistant curator at the Center Pompidou, in Paris, one of the most renowned art institutions in Europe. Miyada is also assistant curator of the 34th São Paulo Biennial.

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