Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this letter to poet Ferreira Gullar, artist Antonio Henrique Amaral expresses the dilemma he faces about whether to continue to deal with the problems of life in New York or return to Brazil. He explains that he has grown accustomed to the atmosphere of free thinking that he found in New York; he is troubled by the idea of returning to his country and facing the acts of arbitrary injustice he personally experienced at the hands of the DOPS (Departamento de Ordem Política e Social), the police force of the military regime in power in Brazil from 1964 to 1985. In this letter, Amaral expresses the reasons he is hesitant to return: even if he does not expect to have direct clashes with the government, the censorship, arbitrary incarcerations, prudish cultural life, depressing atmosphere, stagnant friendships, and self-censorship he would face there diminish, indeed eliminate, his interest in returning. On the other hand, staying in New York would require hard work, but with the possibility of international recognition. Nonetheless, he is certain that his work would be much more powerful in the Brazilian context, and similarly more widely exhibited and sold. Of most importance, however, is that his family is in Brazil.

Leia esta sinopse em português
Synopsis

Antonio Henrique Amaral discorre sobre os dilemas de viver em Nova York ou retornar ao Brasil. Estava acostumado ao clima de liberdade de pensamento que a cidade oferecia e voltar ao país era reencontrar arbitrariedades que conhecia de perto, pois vivera uma situação difícil junto ao Departamento de Ordem Política e Social (DOPS) do regime militar (1964-1985). O artista apresenta, nesta carta ao poeta Ferreira Gullar, inúmeros argumentos pouco estimulantes ao retorno: mesmo não tendo problemas diretos com o governo, as notícias de censuras, as prisões arbitrárias, a pacata vida cultural, a atmosfera deprimente, o marasmo dos amigos e a auto-censura esmoreciam seu interesse. Permanecer em Nova York significa, segundo Amaral, trabalhar arduamente e, talvez, receber uma projeção internacional que a cidade oferecia. Ao mesmo tempo, a relevância e a força do trabalho eram maiores no ambiente brasileiro, assim como sua obra era exibida e vendida. Além disso, teria por perto toda a família.

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Annotations

In this quite personal letter from painter, printmaker, and draftsman Antonio Henrique Amaral (b. 1935) to poet, theorist, and art critic [José Ribamar] Ferreira Gullar (b. 1930), Amaral discusses his prolonged stay in the United States (1972–80) and his situation as a Latin American living in the heart of a colonial power. Amaral is fully aware of this contradiction and of the fact that in the end, his painting is simply merchandise. After having participated in the theoretical formulation and in the practice of the Neo-Concrete movement, Ferreira Gullar assumed a critical (anti-elitist) stance pursuant to the military coup in 1964. He became concerned with social issues and joined the PCB (Brazilian Communist Party). He was also involved in the Centros Populares de Cultura (CPCs). Like Amaral, Ferreira Gullar went into voluntary exile, in his case in Buenos Aires. In his letter, Amaral warns Ferreira Gullar of the risks posed by participating in certain cultural events should he return to Brazil. Amaral also astutely points out that in the oppressive environment of the military dictatorship, Ferreira Gullar would have to choose between political activism and writing.

Leia este comentário crítico em português
Annotations

Nesta carta ao poeta e amigo Ferreira Gullar, o artista Antonio Henrique Amaral destaca como a permanência nos Estados Unidos, onde morou entre 1972 e 1980, reafirmava a sua condição de latino-americano, vivendo na sede do colonialismo. A contradição era consciente, bem como a condição de mercadoria que a sua pintura representava. Amaral ainda alerta Gullar para a participação em eventos que o pudessem comprometer na hora de retornar ao Brasil. Da mesma forma, observa que Gullar, no ambiente de exceção da ditadura militar brasileira, teria que optar entre a ação política e o seu trabalho de escritor.

 

e- Artistas em luta pelos direitos humanos

j- Expatriados voluntários

Revert to English annotations
Researcher
Daria Jaremtchuk
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Credit
Antonio Henrique Amaral, 1974. Reproduced with the permission of Ferreira Gullar, Rio de Janeiro, BR
Location
Acervo Pessoal Antonio Henrique Amaral