Last days | “From Valongo to Favela: imaginary and periphery”

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

The group show “From Valongo to Favela: imaginary and periphery” is on view since the 27th May in Museu de Arte do Rio, with artworks by André Komatsu, Armando Queiroz, Ayrson Heráclito, Bárbara Wagner, Caetano Dias, Caio Reisewitz, Grupo EMPREZA, Henrique Oliveira, Laercio Redondo, Matheus Rocha Pitta, Paulo Nazareth, Virginia de Medeiros e Waléria Américo.

About the exhibition (text by curators Rafael Cardoso and Clarissa Diniz):
The part of Rio de Janeiro that today corresponds to the neighborhoods of Saúde and Gamboa may be considered the first periphery of Brazil. Over time a series of attributes considered undesirable for that region were transferred to the part of the city regarded as the noblest. With the increase in port activities, the loading of goods passed from the old pier next to Largo do Paço (today Praça XV) to Prainha (today Praça Mauá). Not only gold and diamonds extracted from Minas Gerais, but also the human cargo brought from Africa were part of this traffic of things and people. Already in the 18th century, the slave trade established itself near here, on Valongo Street, followed closely by the Cemetery of Pretos Novos. The so-called ‘dirty jobs’ multiplied. The Aljube prison was installed, in 1733, near the stretch where today Acre Street and Leandro Martins intermingle, and the Saúde Hospital – for contagious diseases – between Gamboa Street and the Saco do Alferes, next to the English Cemetery. Now and again, the scaffolding for public hangings was mounted at Prainha, and the condemned were taken to the Santa Rita Church to receive their last rites.

Through processes of marginalization and, sometimes, degradation, the region gradually transformed into a place of poverty, violence and death – a limit and mirror of the city that prospered in the narrow space between Morro do Castelo and Morro de São Bento, and whose well-off population began to spread out to new parishes to the west and to the south. The inequality between this and other parts of the city was confirmed at the end of the 19th century by the appearance of the first favela, at Morro da Providência, a short distance from where the slave market existed. Given this scenario, at the beginning of the 20th century Saúde was the most feared place in the city in the view of many who lived in other parts of Rio de Janeiro. Its ‘hot shots’, ‘hustlers’ and ‘capoeira toughs’ were the favorite subject of police reports. And there, halfway between the port and the favela, in the so-called Little Africa, between prejudice and resistance to the difficult social reality, samba was born, nourished by the stevedores and prostitutes who frequented its taverns.

Taking this history of exclusion as its point of departure, the exhibition “From Valongo to Favela” examines by means of the presence in art how the cultural imaginary of this periphery was formed. The showing traces a pathway from historical images of the place and the activities that occurred there, to the development of the favela as an issue of interest to art far beyond the geographical limits of its origins. Today, the concepts of ‘periphery’ and ‘peripheral’ are of vital importance for contemporary art, put here into critical dialogue with the traces of a continuously re-envisioned and reinvented past. The favela and, more precisely, the port region of Rio de Janeiro, have a long history and as such are a fundamental part of the memory modes and life of Brazil. Visibility is necessary such that the respect, due to all, also reaches those who have always been excluded and consigned to the margins.

Artistas participantes:
Albertino Cavalieiro, Alfredo Storni, Almiro Reis, Ambroise Louis Garneray, André Komatsu, André Parente, Arjan, Armando Queiroz, Arthur da Saúde, Augusto Earle, Augusto Malta, Ayrson Heráclito, Bárbara Wagner, Belmiro de Almeida, Borger Lipinski, Caetano Dias, Caio Reisewitz, Carlos Chambelland, Carlos Vergara, Chlau Deveza, Di Cavalcanti, Djanira, E. B. Sigaud, Eliseu Visconti, F. T. Marinetti, Geraldo Pereira, Geraldo Viola, Giovanni Battista Castagneto, Grupo EMPREZA, Gustavo Dall’Ara, Heitor dos Prazeres, Henrique Oliveira, Hélio Oiticica, Hipólito Caron, Inimá José de Paula, J. M. Rugendas, J. Zigler, Jean-Baptiste Debret, José dos Reis Carvalho, José Pancetti, Juan Gutierrez, Laercio Redondo, Lasar Segall, Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Lívio Abramo, Louis Boulanger, Lucia Rosa, Luiz Morier, Lygia Pape, Marcelo Cidade, Maria Buzanosvsk, Mario Cravo Neto, Matheus Rocha Pitta, Miguel Rio Branco, Moreira da Silva, Muricio Hora, Nadia Taquari, Paulo Nazareth, Raul Pederneiras, Regina Katz, Rosalbino Santoro, Tarsila do Amaral, Vhils, Victor Frond, Vieira da Silva, Virginia de Medeiros, Waléria Américo, Wellington Ferreiro e William John Burchell

Mostra coletiva “From Valongo to Favela: the imaginary and the periphery”
On vew until 15th February 2015
Visiting: Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm

Museu de Arte do Rio
Praça Mauá 5 – Centro
Rio de Janeiro / Rio de Janeiro / Brasil

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