Saturday, 7 November 2009

Brazilian Opening Reception

On Wednesday I attended an opening reception at YBCA for a show called, When Lives Become Form: Contemporary Brazilian Art, 1960s to the Present. It was a lot of fun and totally worth getting a mild sore throat over the next day.

There were live Brazilian bands (both traditional and contemporary), Brazilian cocktails, ladies dressed in pink feathers and half naked, and there was art too. It was a show that could only be fully experienced at the reception because it really transformed the atmosphere from a museum to a party.

Purpose of the Show: The art show was about using cultural, historical, traditional, and societal influences that were deeply rooted in Brazil in order to create a movement of contemporary artistic statements using modern American and European inspirations, such as Dadaism and Deconstructionism to name a couple. Made up of Brazilian, Japanese-Brazilian, Jewish-Brazilian, and Afro-Brazilian artists, the show consisted of visual art, music, fashion design, sculpture, film, and architecture. The central theme revolved around Tropicália.


Tropicália was an art movement in Brazil from 1967 to 1972 that focused on how art was shifting from what was considered "high brow" to commercial art. The idea originated from Hélico Oiticica -who was also the central figure of the art show. In 1967, Oiticica used clichés and tropical tropes, such as palm trees and tropical birds, to show how the culture had been consumed by commercialistic art. It was a form of expression that protested what society was becoming.

By 1972, a military dictatorship emerged in Brazil, which established censorships on art and freedom of speech. Many of the artists who led and followed the ideas and beliefs of Tropicália were incarcerated, exiled, or executed. Despite years of having a military dictatorship, Brazil returned to its democratic government in 1985 and the spirit and ideas of Tropicália flourish once again, but with a modern twist.

Enough with the History: I will show some artists that I really enjoyed at the show and briefly discuss their work. Some work may relate to other issues and themes depending on the artist’s ethnic background.

Fashion Design:
Jum Nakao. Sewing the Invisible.

This is a modified version of the video at the museum -the one at the museum is better. Fashion designer Jum Nakao created all of these clothing articles out of paper. Yes, paper. The featured fashion show was based on traditional Japanese dresses. Nakao wanted to show the rigidness of the past and how people tried so hard to conform to these ideals and to obey governmental authority. By busting out of the delicate dresses, the models were breaking away from the rigid past and governmental restrictions and becoming free to the modern ways of self-expression and freedom. It was stated that some people who saw the fashion show had cried because they could not picture a life without the strict traditions.

To Learn More Information: If you would like to see more pictures and to learn more about the show, visit my blog:

Happy reading,

Leslie Ann


  1. That's really cool and inspiring. I love the fashion show will check your bog later. GO BRAZIL!

  2. I think you should bring more art like this to our attention it was really good.

  3. This is really cool, thanks for sharing! Those paper dress must have taken a long time to complete. It seems designers are expanding their craftsmanship and conceptual approaches to fashion by utilizing non-traditional materials as a way to challenge past restrictions and old ideals. I'm glad you posted this! :)