Djanira: Picturing Brazil

1 March–31 May 2019

Exhibition Overview

Djanira MASP

Djanira da Motta e Silva, Seller of Flowers, 1947. Oil on canvas, 1005 x 65 cm.

Identified with the second wave of Brazilian modernism, Djanira da Motta e Silva (Avaré, São Paulo, Brazil, 1914 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1979) dedicated her 40-year career to oil and tempera paintings, drawing, tilework and engraving. Her output was initially characterized as “primitive” by 1940s critics, resulting in a problematic placement for her art and a marginalization within the narratives of modernism later constructed in Brazil. This same categorization allowed Djanira, however, to adopt an independent stance from the art world, using her self-taught status as a starting point to dismiss dogmatic trends or schools and to create a unique combination of social themes and formal synthesis.

With works produced between the 1940s and 1970s, the show will revisit her oeuvre to reposition Djanira in the context of Brazilian modernism. This exhibition is co-organized by MASP and the Casa Roberto Marinho, in Rio de Janeiro, where it will move to in June. The main themes of Djanira’s work will be approached in the exhibition’s different locations – including portraits and self-portraits (which mark the beginning of her body of work); popular leisure and feasts; representations of work and working; Afro-Brazilian religiosity; various Brazilian landscapes and the Canela tribes of Maranhão.

(Photo by Eduardo Ortega.)

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