coleção mar + enciclopédia negra

museu de arte do rio (mar), rio de janeiro, brasil
7.5 - 3.7.2022

The exhibition “Coleção MAR + Enciclopédia Negra” brings to the public portraits of characters whose images and life stories were erased or never recorded made by contemporary artists. Since before the 19th century, only nobles were portrayed, while black men and women were registered, many times, in anonymous conditions, the exhibition seeks to make a historical reparation to give black personalities the possibility of being portrayed.

Elian Almeida presents three paintings from the “Vogue” series, developed especially for the “Enciclopédia Negra” project, organized by the curators Flávio Gomes and Lilia Schwarcz, in collaboration with artist Jaime Lauriano. Their work resulted in a book that also brought together biographies of more than 550 black personalities, in 416 individual and collective entries, published in March 2021 by Companhia das Letras. For the edition, 36 contemporary artists were invited to make portraits in order to reverse the invisibility that existed until today in the lives of these people who were left with their faces erased by the lack of visual records in history.

“The public will get to know the history of almost 200 black personalities because the works are accompanied by short biographies and have contact with a sensational catalog of black artists. It is an opportunity to see the work of young artists, who have made figurative, political, activist, and beautiful art of great quality and national and international recognition. This is an exhibition in which the public will encounter a new way of seeing, being, and experiencing this Brazil in a more inclusive and pluralistic view, because it directly faces a policy of erasure of black populations”, emphasizes the consultant and curator Lilia Schwarcz.

“The exhibition consists of portraits of black personalities in history such as politicians, artists, samba musicians, lawyers, and engineers, who were historically important, but whose portraits were not produced. These images, for the most part, are fiction, because you don't know the images of these people and each artist created their resources to create bodies that were never seen until this historic moment”, comments the chief curator of MAR, Marcelo Campos.

“Coleção MAR + Enciclopédia Negra” is made in partnership with the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, the institution that first hosted the exhibition “Enciclopédia Negra”.

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