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The invention of Afro-Brazilian art: the uses of the black popular classes' material culture in Salvador's modern art system (1947-1957)

Grant number: 17/08998-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2018
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Silvana Barbosa Rubino
Grantee:Bruno Pinheiro
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/02513-1 - Transit of ideas on art, race and ethnicity between Salvador and New York in the implementation of a local modern art market, BE.EP.DR


This research will analize how individuals from the black popular classes of Salvador mobilized the category Afro-Brazilian Art in the negotiation of spaces within the modern art system established in the city between the years of 1947 and 1957. This category will be understood as produced by a negociation among white intellectuals, black intellectuals, white artists and black artists during the first half of the twentieth century. At first, it will delimited the different meanings of Afro-Brazilian Art from the discourses produced by the white intellectuals Raimundo Nina Rodrigues, Arthur Ramos and Odorico Tavares in their approach with the theme, considering them as the individuals who were considered as the most legitimate in the dispute of the meaning of this category among their peers. Their works will be compared with the production of two black intellectuals of the same period, Manoel Querino and Édison Carneiro with whom they were in dialogue. Next, it will be identified how this category was implemented in the routines of the Bahian art system, concentrating on the art critics of José Valladares and the documentation about the activities of the Oxumaré Gallery and the Bahian Salons of Fine Arts. Finally, the previous analyzes will be confronted to the trajectories of two black artists, locating under which terms these artists negotiated their entry into the art system: the carpenter, pai-de-santo and painter Rafael Borjes de Oliveira and of the watchman and sculptor Agnaldo dos Santos. By these procedures, we aim to understand how the implementation of this local modernism redefined race and class relations within Salvador's art system. (AU)

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