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The distinguished novelist Jorge Amado wrote this text on the Afro-Brazilian exhibition on mundane arts and crafts as well as objects of worship of Afro-Brazilian Candomblé. He referred to these utensils as “mediocre objects that highlight their poverty through the poetry of a drawing, of a flower, of a figure.”

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Texto de apresentação da exposição de trabalhos artesanais de uso cotidiano e de objetos de culto afro-brasileiros. Jorge Amado refere-se a esses artefatos como sendo "pobres objetos que iluminam sua pobreza com a poesia de um desenho, de uma flor, de uma figura".

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The exhibition Bahia, coordinated by the architect Lina Bo Bardi and the director of the Escola de Teatro de la Universidade da Bahia, Martim Gonçalves, was without doubt, the first major exhibition on Northeastern Brazilian Folk art, and was an integral part of the São Paulo’s fifth biennial (from  September 21 to December 31, 1959).


Jorge Amado (1912–2001) is unquestionably one of the most internationally renowned and translated Brazilian writers. Among the many novels he wrote, the two most widely published were Capitães de areia (1937) and Seara vermelha (1946).


The Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi [née, Achillina Bo, 1914–92] moved to the northeastern region of Brazil (1959–64) to support and promote the (traditional) culture in that part of the country. The military coup (1964–85) wiped out all the practical and intellectual advances that had taken her a decade to accomplish. Regarding the exhibition Civilização do Nordeste, which inaugurates the Museu de Arte Popular do Unhão in 1963 [see in the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1111193)], Bo Bardi did a considerable amount of research into the origins of the art, handcrafts, and what preceded those handcrafts in the northeastern part of the country. Among the most important articles in this selection there is this document by Jorge Amado, “Exposição Bahia” (1959); by the Italian architect Bruno Zevi, “L’arte dei poveri fa paura ai generali” [The art of the poor terrifies the Generals] (1965) (doc. no. 1110904); and by Lívio Xavier, “O artesanato no Ceará” (1963) (doc. no. 1110900). Also included are the writings by Flávio Motta (1970), Abelardo da Hora (1963), Celso Furtado (1967), Glauber Rocha (1964), Paulo Gil Soares (1964) and Ariano Suassuna (1963). As complimentary reading, see the anonymous essay “Arte popular” (doc. no. 1110862).


Lina Bo Bardi lived in Salvador (Bahia) from 1959 to 1964, where she was the director of the MAMB (Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia). As had happened at the MASP in São Paulo—where she was in charge of program planning and teaching activities—her work at the MAMB consisted of organizing art history exhibitions and shows for contemporary and international artists representing various movements, and re-evaluating the traditional culture of the Brazilian “northeast.” Bo Bardi organized regular classes on art, music, cinema and theater, and arranged for design and local handcraft workshops. She was a dynamic force in the art field in that part of the country, and helped local artists to make contact with well-known figures in the contemporary arts community. Some years later, at the opening exhibition at the MAP (Museu de Arte Popular), which was built on her initiative at the Solar do Unhão (Salvador, 1963), she explored the ideas that were expressed at the Bahia exhibition that was part of the V Bienal de São Paulo (1959). In her opinion, the exhibition should have been called Civilização do Nordeste; she explained that, in this context, the word ‘civilization’ was understood to mean “the whole of human life” (doc. no. 1110868).

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"Exposição Bahia" é a primeira grande exposição de arte popular nordestina, realizada na V Bienal de São Paulo e organizada pela arquiteta Lina Bo Bardi e por Martim Gonçalvez, diretor da Escola de Teatro da Universidade da Bahia. Jorge Amado é um mais conhecidos e traduzidos escritores brasileiros, autor de "Capitães de areia"e "Seara vermelha", entre outros romances.


Ver também:

EXPOSIÇÂO BAHIA, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, 59     


d0- Artesanato e arte popular

d1- Destaque para artistas afro-brasileiros genuínos

Revert to English annotations
Equipe Brasil: Ana Maria Moraes Belluzzo
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Instituto Lina Bo e Pietro Maria Bardi