Category Archives: Visual Arts

Conversation with photographer Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado, author of memorable images that portrait the reality of labor, migrations, landless farmers and daily life in all continents, is one of the most accomplished Brazilian photographers. And one of the very few that really made it internationally.

In this 2005 event at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, he presents some of his best pictures  and discusses the social and political role of photography. His interview, that takes a while to really take off, lasts 1h30 and is conducted by adjunct professor Ken Light and Photo Critic and Curator Fred Ritchin.

The best Brazilian book covers

The winners of the main Brazilian literary award, Prêmio Jabuti, were announced yesterday. Among them, “Ribamar”, by José Castello, considered last year’s best novel; “1822”, by Laurentino Gomes, the best journalistic book, and “Em alguma parte alguma”, by Ferreira Gullar, that got the poetry award.

The Best Cover Award went to João Baptista da Costa Aguiar, that created a sober cover for “Invisível”, the Brazilian version for Paul Auster’s “Invisible”, edited by Companhia das Letras.

You will find here the list of book covers that got the award in past years. (Tip: 2007 was a particularly inspired year)


  • 1º – O resto é ruído – Escutando o século XX – cover by Retina 78, published by Companhia das Letras.




  • 2º – Salas e Abismos – cover by Zot Design, Rara Dias, Ana Carolina Carneiro and Paula Delecave, published by Cosac Naify.


  • 3º – Os Espiões – cover by Rodrigo Rodrigues, published by Ed Objetiva.

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Azulejos – the Portuguese tiles everywhere in Brazil

Azulejos, the very typical Portuguese white and blue tilework, can still be found in several Brazilian cities, generally remnant from the colonial years. They began to arrive in the country around 1630 and were used to adorn churches, monasteries, palaces and other mansions. Check this series of images of azulejos seen in the states of Bahia, Rio, São Paulo and Maranhão.

Find here a brief but good history of the presence of azulejos in  the country (in Portuguese).

Photo by Eneas de Troya/Flickr, from Convento de São Francisco (Saint Francis Cloisters) in Salvador, Bahia, the biggest collection of azulejos in the country.
Vestry of the church of the Cloisters of São Francisco, in Salvador. Photo from Wikipedia

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The dreamy, sexy sculptures of Brennand

Photo by Valdiney Pimenta/ Flickr

Ceramist Francisco Brennand is probably the greatest Brazilian sculptor in activity. Inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso, Joán Miró and Fernand Léger, that he met during his studies in Paris, he developed a style that mixes surrealism and anatomy, fertility goddesses and tribal totems.

The best place to see his production is his personal museum, Oficina Brennand, in Recife. It is installed in the old ceramic tile factory built by his father in 1917 and displays not only thousand of pieces of his art but also a garden conceived by great landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx. The New York Times just wrote about it.

Photo by Graham Stanley/ Flickr

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Artists reinterpret popular Turma da Mônica characters

Cebolinha and Louco (the Madman) as seen by Will Leite

For half a century, the characters of Turma da Mônica (Mônica’s Gang, in the “official” translation) inhabited the imagination of cartoonist Mauricio de Souza and the whole Brazilian population. Now, the seven-year-old Mônica, Cebolinha, Cascão and Magali – plus a bunch of side characters, are reinterpreted by 50 artists of very different styles. Their work is collected in “MSP 50 – Mauricio de Sousa Por 50 Artistas”, a book to be released by Editora Panini in the next few days. Here is a sample of their creation.  Continue reading Artists reinterpret popular Turma da Mônica characters

Brazilians get the comics “Oscar” – again

Brazilian twins Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon got on Friday their fourth Eisner Comic Industry Awards  for “Daytripper”, a book that tells the story of an obituary writer in crisis. In March it topped the New York Times bestseller list in the comic category. You can check their work in their website or on daily Folha de S. Paulo.


Another Brazilian, Rafael Albuquerque, got the best new series award for “American Vampire”, that he created with Scott Snyder and best-seller writer Stephen King.



Krajcberg, the poet of fire

Photos by Manu Dias/ Government of Bahia/Flickr
Photo by Manu Dias/ Government of Bahia/Flickr

Frans Krajcberg, the Jewish refugee that creates beauty from burned hardwood in a small beach of the Northeast, just turned 90. His work is frequently seen as an environmental libel, but it is also the use of nature as a metaphor by someone that couldn’t be in peace with History and humans. “I go to the woods and feel as burned as the trees”, he often says.  “My works are my manifest. The fire is death, abyss. The fire is always with me. The destruction has forms. I am searching for images to scream my revolt.”

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The best colection of 19th century Brazilian art

"Gioventù"(Youth in Italian) by Eliseu Visconti, 1898

One of the greatest art museums in the country, Rio’s Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, just reopened after a three-year remodelling. Its Modern and Contemporary art collections are important, but it’s the 19th century collection, with over 4,000 pieces, that catches the visitors’ attention.
Here are some of the best pieces of the new gallery dedicated to that period, all very epic – or at least theatrical: Continue reading The best colection of 19th century Brazilian art