The Exhibition AfroBrasil: Art and Identities Looks to Address the Complexities of Brazil’s Heritage Across Frontiers

LOS ANGELES (December 4, 2014) Brazilian designer and photographer Paulo P. Lima, Ph.D. debuts his first national exhibition at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 12, 2014. As part of the AfroBrasil: Art and Identities exhibition, his collection highlights a number of photographed images and dressed figurines that feature elements of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé, a religion that has been deeply rooted in Brazil dating back to the slave trade. The exhibition, which includes other Afro-Brazilian artists, focuses on Brazil’s complex heritage and contributions. 

Dr. Lima’s collection features a number of Afro-Brazilian traditions including images of Baianas, which is an iconic representation of women who sell food on the streets of Salvador and other Brazilian cities.  Additionally, the collection features dressed figurines that were inspired by the Brazilian Baroque art tradition of “Santos de Roca” from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Using handcrafted felts, silks and recycled materials, Dr. Lima dresses wooden figurines to represent his diverse Afro-Brazilian heritage.

The work developed for this collection was inspired and developed while he conducted research as a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  During his stay in the cities of São Paulo and Salvador, Bahia, Dr. Lima used his fieldwork photography to register various moments of religious and secular performances. “I am thrilled to participate at the AfroBrasil: Art and Identities Exhibition,” said Dr. Lima. “It is a great opportunity for me to contribute to the exposure of Afro-Brazilian culture and heritage.”

AfroBrasil: Art and Identities has been curated to include two other distinct and inter-related exhibition sections. From lithographs to photography, the exhibition can be visited in any order so that different connections can be made and different perspectives gained.

With more than 20 years in the art industry, AfroBrasil: Art and Identities is Dr. Lima’s fourth and largest exhibition to date. In 2010, he created his first collection of eight wooden Baroque inspired figurines. His first photography exhibition has been showcased at the Los Angeles and Washington D.C. offices of Congresswoman Karen Bass since 2013. 

Dr. Lima received his doctorate in Theater and Performance Studies at UCLA, where he studied garments from the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé, which is practiced in several Brazilian cities, including his hometown of São Paulo.  His dissertation, Candomblé and Its Living Garments, touches upon issues of race, gender and class, in the use of dress for religious and secular performances in São Paulo and Salvador, Bahia.

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