The New Social Environment#234

February Critics Page: Only Anthropophagy Unites Us?


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Please join us for a discussion on our February Guest Critic page with Vivian Braga dos Santos, Viviane Pistache, André Pitol, and Ramón Stern led by Tiago Gualberto and Rail ArtSeen Editor Sara Roffino. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Caetano Dias.

In this talk

“The white man is not afraid, but one day he will be.” — Davi Kopenawa, Shaman, indigenous leader and spokesperson for the Yanomami cause, the struggle against the destruction of his people and the forest.

Anthropophagy had one of its most stimulating theoretical iterations in Brazil. Its baptism, one could say, took place upon the poet Oswald de Andrade’s encounter with the painting (still anonymous at the time) of Tarsila do Amaral in 1928. Among the narratives that helped launch the anthropophagous movement was the choice of the title Abaporu, due to its indigenous origin. The word was one of the Tupi-Guarani entries found by Amaral and Andrade in the dictionary Tesoro de La Lengua Guarani (1639–40), by Peruvian missionary Father Antonio Ruiz de Montoya. This dictionary had assisted the new Jesuit missionaries in their work of evangelizing Indigenous populations in the Americas during the colonial period. The title Abaporu is a blend of the word Aba (man or person) and Porú (an eater of human flesh) and can be described as “a man that eats people” in reference to anthropophagous practices of great importance to the culture of the Tupinambá people. These practices were ultimately abandoned due to pressure from the Jesuit priests.

…. Read the full Editor’s Message by Tiago Gualberto and Sara Roffino:

Explore the February 2021 Critics Page:

Tiago Gualberto

Portrait drawing of Tiago Gualberto by Phong H. Bui
Portrait drawing of Tiago Gualberto by Phong H. Bui
A visual artist and researcher, who has stood out for a number of projects including those at São Paulo’s Afro Brazil Museum and his partnership with the Design Studio for Social Intervention in Boston. He is currently part of the body of art critics at the São Paulo Cultural Center and an invited instructor at The Alternative Art School. In 2012, he was the artist in residence at the Tamarind Institute at New Mexico University a finalist in the category of Visual Arts of the Programa Nascente. In 2015, he received the Funarte Scholarship for Black Artists and Producers from the Ministry of Culture. In 2017, Gualberto was one of ten Brazilian leaders selected to participate in a roundtable with President Barack Obama in São Paulo due to his artistic work and social involvement.

Sara Roffino

Portrait drawing of Sara Roffino by Phong H. Bui
Portrait drawing of Sara Roffino by Phong H. Bui
An editor, writer, and researcher. She has worked as the executive editor of Cultured magazine managing editor of the Brooklyn Rail, and the senior/executive editor of Art+Auction. She works as a freelance editor and researcher for artists and art historians and oversees the archives and catalogue raisonné research for painter Larry Poons. Her writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Cultured, and Bomb, among many other publications. Sara is an ArtSeen editor of the Brooklyn Rail.

Vivian Braga dos Santos

Has a PhD in Art History from the University of São Paulo (USP, Brazil) and researcher at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA, Paris). Her work examines the relationship between contemporary art, political conflict, history, and memory. Currently, she is focusing on a project about the tensions between contemporary art and conflicts over racial issues in Brazil.

Viviane A. Pistache

A Black woman from the state of Minas Gerais. She is a psychologist, a screenwriter, a film critic and a PhD student. Pistache currently works as a researcher for the Department of Artistic Development for the Globo television network. She has previously worked as a development assistant at the production company Casa de Criação Cinema led by director Joel Zito and an assistant in the development of screenplays for O2 Filmes.

André Pitol

A researcher working on artistic, educational and curatorial projects in São Paulo, Brazil with a focus on photography and art history. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Visual Arts program at the University of São Paulo and a member of the Research Group on Art, Design, and Digital Media (GP_ADMD).

Ramón J. Stern

A translator and a higher education administrator with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan Ann-Arbor. He served for many years as Administrative Manager of the Brazil Initiative at Brown University and of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA). His translation of Oswaldo Truzzi’s study Syrian and Lebanese Patrícios in São Paulo: From the Levant to Brazil (University of Illinois Press, 2018) won the Arab-American Non-Fiction Book Award in 2019 from the Arab-American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Caetano Dias reading.

Caetano Dias

A multi-media artist who was born in Feira de Santana, state of Bahia. His visual work began in the late 1980s through performance, urban interventions and mural paintings after his training in vernacular letters at the Catholic University of Salvador between 1985 and 1987. His research articulates the sacred and the erotic through realization videos, paintings, three-dimensional works, multimedia installation and digital photography. Between 1995 and 2008, he taught courses in the workshops of the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.