“Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil”

The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, will exhibit “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil” June 17-Aug. 13.

The exhibition, which features engaging photographs and works of popular art, including sculptures, paintings, prints, religious objects, toys, and booklets of poetry, explores how the ancient cultures of Africa blended with indigenous and colonial Portuguese traditions to form the vibrant and complex cultural mosaic of modern Brazil.
The exhibition also illustrates the complex and vibrant culture of northeast Brazil and introduces the festivals, heroes and spiritual traditions that are important to the Nordestinos, common people of Brazil’s northeast.

Free events include:

  • Sunday, July 16, 2 p.m., Dr. Hingrid Kujawinski, CF assistant professor of Vocal Music, and Dr. Sarah Satterfield, CF professor of Music History and Flute, will give a presentation entitled “Brazilian Extravaganza,” and a choral and instrumental recital featuring classical and popular Brazilian music.
  • Sunday, July 30, 2 p.m., Professor Mico, Allied Capoeira League Gainesville, will give a lecture and demonstration on Capoeira, a martial art that combines elements of fight, acrobatics, music, dance and rituals.
  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 2 p.m., Richard Kirk, CF Humanities professor, will give a talk, “Forged From the Fire: Slavery’s Lasting Impact on Brazilian Culture,” examining the impact of the slave trade in Brazil, and how the blending of African, Portuguese and native Brazilian cultures eventually produced a distinct artistic heritage for the region.

Exploring how diverse traditions come together in the region, “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints”
uses work by historical and contemporary artists to illuminate a fascinating history that reaches into modern Brazil. The exhibition is divided into three parts.

“The Land & Its People” presents the complicated history of sugar plantations and African slavery in colonial Brazil. It introduces the parched backlands of the sertão and the challenging life of the vaqueiros (cowboys), retirantes (migrant workers) and the heroes of the ordinary people of the Northeast.

“Expressions of Faith” presents the rich African-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, exploring its historic African roots and its intersection with Roman Catholicism. Photographs, paintings and sacred objects show colorful processions, festivals and pilgrimages of these two religious traditions.

“Poetry, Celebration & Song” features literatura de cordel (literature on a string) produced by singing poets who “sell” their songs in small chapbooks in markets and fairs. Poetry, prints and sculptures inspired by folk legends and current events signal the dynamic fusion of tradition and improvisation in the culture of the Northeast.

The exhibition will immerse viewers in colorful environments. Hands-on interactive, music and video components will combine with large-scale photographs and original artifacts to show the complex history, religious devotion and artistic expression that come together in the popular art of northeast Brazil.

“Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil” was curated by Marion E. Jackson, Ph.D., and Barbara Cervenka, O.P., Con/Vida–Popular Arts of the Americas, and organized by Con/Vida–Popular Arts of the Americas and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, Michigan, in partnership with NEH on the Road/Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, Missouri.

“Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil” exhibit-inspired education programs are sponsored in part by Northern Trust.

Daily admission to the Appleton Museum of Art is free for CF students, faculty and staff.