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Displayed at both institutions, the exhibit proposes a review of the iconic ‘The Afro-Brazilian Hand’, held at MAM, 35 years ago, with curatorship by Emanoel Araujo, on the centenary of the slavery abolition in Brazil

LEFT TO RIGHT: Emanoel Araújo, Composição Roxa e Vermelha, 1979. Private collection. Photographer: Renato Parada. Maria Lídia Magliani, Sem Título, 1986. Dry pastel and oil pastel on paper, 70 x 69.8cm. Collection MAM São Paulo donation São Marco S.A. Indústria Química. Luiz83, Untitled, 2023. Photographer: Renato Parada.

From October 19th, the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo [Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo] and the Museu Afro Brasil Emanoel Araujo [Emanuel Araujo Afro Brazil Museum] present the exhibition Mãos: 35 anos da Mão Afro-Brasileira [Hands: 35 years of the Afro-Brazilian Hand]. Exhibited simultaneously in both institutions, the exhibition has curatorship by Claudinei Roberto da Silva – curator, artist, member of the MAM Arts Commission and guest curator from MAB Emanoel Araujo – and brings together paintings, engravings, photographs, sculptures and documents by more than 30 Brazilian afro-descent popular, academic, modern and/or contemporary artists. The exhibition celebrates and revisits the legacy of A Mão Afro-Brasileira [The Afro-Brazilian Hand], an exhibition held at MAM in 1988 – the centenary year of slavery abolition in Brazil – with curatorship by Emanoel Araujo and which marked the history of art in the country. The exhibition is sponsored by Vale Cultural Institute through the culture incentive law.

The exhibition’s idea was shared with Emanoel Araujo (1940-2022), artist, curator, creator and director of the Museu Afro Brasil [Afro Brazil Museum], who was enthusiastic about carrying out the institutional partnership, but was unable to see the project come to fruition. The current exhibition is also a tribute from both institutions to his legacy.

“Mãos: 35 anos da Mão Afro-Brasileira [Hands: 35 years of the Afro-Brazilian Hand] on MAM, held in partnership with the Museu Afro Brasil Emanoel Araujo [Emanuel Araujo Afro Brazil Museum], renamed in honour of its founder, is inaugurated 35 years after the pioneering version displayed at MAM São Paulo. More than joining a discussion that is currently very present in institutions, the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo [Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo] revisits its history, revealing its pioneering spirit in regards to the appreciation of Afro-Brazilian art that so deeply marks national identity and culture”, comments Elizabeth Machado, MAM’s president.

“It was through a series of exhibitions held by Emanoel Araujo that the Museu Afro Brasil [Afro Brazil Museum] project – the name by which the institution became known for, before adopting the name of its founder – began to acquire its outlining, before it even officially existed. And it can be said that it is found in the historic exhibition A Mão Afro-Brasileira The Afro-Brazilian Hand, as well as in the homonymous publication, also organised by Araujo, the genes of the Museum he created, both from a conceptual point of view and from the constitution of its collections”, states Sandra Salles, executive director of the Museu Afro Brasil Emanoel Araujo [Emanuel Araujo Afro Brazil Museum].

At MAM, the exhibition will be shown in the Paulo Figueiredo Room with artworks by Agnaldo Manuel dos Santos, Aline Bispo, Almandrade, André Ricardo, Arthur Timótheo da Costa, Betto Souza, Claudio Cupertino, Cosme Martins, Denis Moreira, Diogo Nogue, Edival Ramosa, Edu Silva, Emanoel Araujo, Emaye – Natalia Marques, Eneida Sanches, Estevão Roberto da Silva, Flávia Santos, Genilson Soares, Heitor dos Prazeres, João Timótheo da Costa, Jorge dos Anjos, José Adário dos Santos, Leandro Mendes, Luiz 83, Maria Lídia Magliani, Maurino de Araújo, MayAgontinmé, Mestre Didi, Néia Martins, Nivaldo Carmo, Otávio Araújo, Paulo Nazareth, Peter de Brito, Rebeca Carapiá, Rommulo Vieira Conceição, Rosana Paulino, Rubem Valentim, Sérgio Adriano H, Sidney Amaral, Sonia Gomes, Taygoara Schiavinoto, Wilson Tibério and Yêdamaria .

And at MAB Emanoel Araujo, the works of Emanoel Araujo, Denis Moreira, May Agontinmé, Juliana dos Santos, Lidia Lisbôa and Renata Felinto will be exhibited at the Carolina Maria de Jesus Library, alongside documents relating to the 1988 exhibition belonging to the MAM Archive.

Claudinei Roberto explains that Mãos: 35 anos da Mão Afro-Brasileira [Hands: 35 years of the Afro-Brazilian Hand] reviews the historic exhibition from 35 years ago based on now historicized productions and other contemporary achievements that, naturally, were not present in the 1988 exhibition, but that, in any case, provide evidence of the current panorama of Afro-Brazilian art.

“Epistemicide is the term created to mark the processes of erasure and silencing of the history and culture of a given group. In a social scenario historically marked by profound inequality of race, class and gender, epistemicide is also a result of structural racism that creates conditions for education, art and cultural institutions to neglect the symbolic productions of weakened social sectors that consequently remain subordinate. Therefore, the current emergence and appreciation of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-diasporic art has its rhythm influenced by the advancement of the struggles for civil rights undertaken by black women and men in the country”, reflects Claudinei in the text that makes up the catalog.

For Cauê Alves, MAM’s chief curator, in addition to its artistic and social relevance, Mãos: 35 anos da Mão Afro-Brasileira [Hands: 35 years of the Afro-Brazilian Hand] is fundamental for reflecting on the history of exhibitions. “Held 35 years after A Mão Afro-Brasileira [The Afro-Brazilian Hand], also carried out at MAM São Paulo by Emanoel Araujo, it updates the debate and reopens a field of possibilities. This narrative, which addresses the first exhibitions on Afro-Brazilian art, has A Mão Afro-Brasileira [The Afro-Brazilian Hand] as a fundamental part of projecting future possibilities. The exhibition values the symbolic production of those who have traditionally been relegated to the margins in the official narratives of the institutions that have dominated discussions about the arts in the last 150 years”, comments Cauê Alves in an essay in the catalog.

The exhibition will be on view from the 20th of October, 2023, until the 3rd of March, 2024. For more information, please visit Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo.

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