Thursday, January 19, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Popular Art from Brazil featured in Worcester Center for Crafts BANDITS & HEROES, POETS & SAINTS exhibit

Worcester, MA –-The Worcester Center for Crafts announces its major winter exhibition, BANDITS & HEROES, POETS & SAINTS – Popular Art from the Northeast of Brazil which opens on Saturday, January 28, 2017 and is showing in the Center’s Krikorian Gallery through March 11, 2017.

The opening of this multifaceted exhibit will be marked by a Festival Day complete with music, food, activities and tours that introduce the vitality of Brazilian culture and tradition. The Worcester Brazilian Festival organization is assisting with the Festival Day.

BANDITS & HEROES, POETS & SAINTS – Popular Art from the Northeast of Brazil is an exhibition that uses the little known art of Northeast Brazil to tell the story of Brazil’s history, traditions and culture. Focusing especially on the contributions from Africa, the exhibition presents sculptures, paintings, prints, religious objects, festival costumes, toys and other material that give access to the history and daily life of this complex and interesting area of the Americas.  It is divided into three parts:  The Land & Its People which examines the African diaspora in NE Brazil; Expressions of Faith which explores the co-mingling of belief systems in Brazil as well as faith in popular art; and Poetry, Celebration & Song which shows the power of popular art in celebration.

The show provides an opportunity to explore many facets of Brazilian history and culture and to consider parallels in North America. The exhibition focuses on the rich culture that has arisen from the mingling of European, African and indigenous roots in Brazil for more than 500 years and pays particular attention to the influences of Africa suggesting parallels in the history and experience of the U.S.

“We are delighted to bring this show to Worcester,” said Gallery Director Candace Casey, “because it shows the popular roots of craft in Brazil while exploring important ideas about how art and culture develop.”

J Borges, O Monstro do Sertão  (Monster of the Backlands), N.D., woodcut print, 27 x 19 inches, courtesy Con/Vida – Popular Arts of the Americas. © J. Borges. Image: Paul Primeau.
Related programming for the exhibit include a FESTIVAL OPENING DAY, January 28, 1-5 pm, that is Brazilian at its heart!  Capoeira demonstrations, Brazilian and African Music performed by Crocodile River Music, food provided by Terra Brasilis Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street, a variety of hands-on experiences plus tours of the exhibition will be featured with assistance from the Worcester Brazilian Festival.  This day is free to the public.

Also being offered are talks by local scholars:

Saturday, February 11, 2017   1:30 pm (snow date, Sunday, February 12, 1:30 pm)
Mini-Symposium: Slavery in America and Brazil’s Artists of African Descent.  Scholars Thomas Doughton (Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Holy Cross) and Jean Borgatti (Art History, University of Benin, Nigeria) explore two aspects of the exhibition BANDITS & HEROES: Slavery in the Americas (Doughton) and Brazil’s artists of African descent – 1500 to the present, incorporating images from the exhibit as well as expanding on the traditions represented (Borgatti).

Saturday, February 25, 2017    1:30 pm (snow date, March 4)
Mini-Symposium: Gender & Belonging and Candomble.  Timothy Murphy, (Urban Studies, Worcester State University) will discuss the relationship between gender/sexuality and belonging among a community of bohemians in a rapidly growing city in the interior of the Brazilian Northeast. Robert L. Green (Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross) will address how Catholicism, indigenous religious traditions, and traditions brought from West Africa blend and inform Candomble in Brazil.

Programming for youth includes a whittling and woodcarving workshop for ages 10 and above on Sat., Feb 4 and 11, 10-Noon (Pre-registration required) which will explore works in the exhibit and techniques used by popular artists.  Safety will also be taught.  Also, a variety of 2 hr workshops will be offered during February Vacation Week (Feb 21-14) which explore different aspects of the exhibition (Registration required.)

Programming and outreach efforts are funded in part by Mass Humanities and by the Olive I. and Anthony A. Borgatti Jr. Fund of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.  Worcester Magazine is the media sponsor of the exhibit.

The exhibit has been organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities ON THE ROAD Program, curated by Marion E. Jackson, PhD and Barbara Cervenka, OP, Con/Vida--Popular Arts of the Americas and circulated by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Other partners in the exhibit are the Worcester Brazilian Festival, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast and Black History Month Committee, and the Worcester Caribbean American Carnival Association.

Related events are described on the attached page.  For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Honee Hess, Executive Director,