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Brazil* hosted soccer’s World Cup in the summer of 2014, and soon will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. While many are familiar with these events and Brazil’s other achievements, they may be unaware of the cultural and ethnic complexity of this large South American country.
The largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, Brazil is home to the second largest population of African origin outside the African continent. Yet, despite its sporadic economic dynamism, its soccer prowess (who has not heard of Pelé, the “Black Pearl”?), the fame of its Carnaval, and the acclaim given the 1959 Oscar-winning French film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro), starring Afro-Brazilian actors, many aspects of its Afro-Brazilian identity, art, and culture have not received the status or attention they merit.
Today, Afro-Brazilian art and identities saturate the core of Brazilian culture and society, but may not rise commensurately to the surface in galleries, museums, or the works of art historians. The artists, writers, musicians, and critics who do tackle Afro-Brazilian reality more often than not narrate; in doing so they include their personal experiences in a unique multi-racial and multi-ethnic nation-state. AfroBrasil: Art and Identities shows the multiple important ways in which Afro-Brazilian artists and their colleagues from other countries address the complexities of Brazil’s African heritage and its impact across frontiers and oceans.
Using a team approach, the exhibition has been curated to comprise four distinct, yet inter-related, sections, which can be visited in any order to make different connections and gain different perspectives.
The introduction highlights works from the Latin American collections in the University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research as well as the UNM Art Museum, and features historic, romanticized photos of Afro-Brasileiros. It also highlights the importance of cordeles (chapbooks) purchased in the streets of Afro-Brazilian communities. These affordable pieces of literature often document and detail the history of Afro-Brazilians, a history still not often validated.
The second section showcases an exquisite series of lithographs from the University of New Mexico’s Tamarind Institute. The Institute’s 2012 project, “AFRO: Black Identity in America,” invited three artists from Brazil and three from North America to collaborate and create works based on issues of identity.
The next section highlights the research and work of Paulo Lima, who recently completed his Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles. His photographic images and dressed figures focus specifically on garments worn by practitioners of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé, a religion with roots in Brazil since the beginning of the 18th century, when Brasil was still the jewel in the crown of the world-wide Portuguese Empire.
The final section draws again from the extensive Latin American collections of UNM’s Center for Southwest Research, as well as private collections. It portrays the popular and religious culture of Candomblé in its varied forms, from offerings to the Orixás (Yoruba deities) to posters popularizing the Orixás as superheroes, and helps contextualize all themes that run through the exhibition.
Photograph: Baianas (Praça de Sé, Salvador, Bahia), Paulo Lima, 2013, courtesy of the artist
*Brasil is spelled with an “s” in Portuguese and Spanish, with a “z” in English. Text and label materials in this exhibition use both spellings, depending on context.
Well-known to much of the Albuquerque community simply by how he signed his works, using only the name “MARCO,” artist José Marcos Garcia carved political figures, popular heroes, santos, and so much more. This exhibition, MARCO! Celebrating the Legacy of Nuestro Maestro José Marcos Garcia, brings together over 100 works by the local artist who sold his art for years at the Albuquerque flea market and the Spanish Village at the State Fair. Borrowed from the private collections of local fans, the exhibition celebrates the fondness the city of Albuquerque had for this artist, and reveals his legacy for the first time.
This exhibition is part of On the Map: Unfolding Albuquerque Art + Design, a citywide collaboration involving over 20 organizations and celebrating the artistic history and cultural legacy of the Middle Rio Grande Valley. For additional information on the project, ongoing from January through June, 2015, visit www.ABQontheMap.com.
Quinceañera: Our Story, Our Future will explore the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Art Museum’s permanent collection and celebrate the Center’s fifteenth anniversary. The exhibition presents the breadth of the museum’s art collection and reflects the diversity of Hispanic/Chicano/Latino art and culture; it also features a participatory gallery and an opportunity to contribute to a time capsule that will be opened for the Center’s 25th anniversary.
Quinceañera: Our Story, Our Future opens with a free community celebration on Sunday, September 13 from 12 pm to 4 pm. The event includes hands-on activities, a Quinceañera fashion show, and a chance to enter a drawing to win a free Quinceañera dress, provided by Hamiel Bridal & Quinceañera.
Organized and installed by NHCC docent Patrick Trujillo and intern Jonathan Natvig, this exhibition presents photographs of the historic Barelas neighborhood, one of the original plazas of Albuquerque, Los Barelas. Although the neighborhood predates Albuquerque (founded in 1707), this exhibit covers the period of statehood from 1912 to 2012.
Opening alongside its companion exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, “Staging the Self / Ponerse en Imagen”, this exhibition will highlight portraiture by New Mexican artists. Curated by the NHCC’s Visual Arts Program Director Dr. Tey Marianna Nunn, this exhibition features paintings, drawings and photographs by eleven New Mexican artists: Lydia Gallegos, Miguel Gandert, Edward Gonzales, María Dolores Gonzales, Oscar Lozoya, Max-Carlos Martinez, Derrick Montez, Arturo Olivas, Gene Ortega, Cecilia Portal, and Jocelyn Salaz. *****Extended by popular demand to June 12, 2016!!!!
This traveling art exhibition was organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center and curated by Taína Caragol, the National Portrait Gallery’s curator of Latino art and history. Staging the Self features 54 works by six contemporary U.S. Latino artists—David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez, María Martínez-Cañas, Rachelle Mozman, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, and Michael Vasquez.