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Djanira: Picturing Brazil at MASP

MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Djanira da Motta e Silva, Costureira [Seamstress], 1951. Tempera on canvas, 54 x 46 cm. Collection Museu Nacional de Belas Artes/IBRAM, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

a memória de seu povo
Picturing Brazil
March 1–May 19, 2019 

MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand
Avenida Paulista, 1578 
São Paulo-São Paulo 
Hours: Tuesday 10am–8pm,
Wednesday–Sunday 10am–6pm 

T +55 11 3149 5959 


This is the first large scale monographic exhibition dedicated to the work of Djanira da Motta e Silva (Avaré, São Paulo, 1941–Rio de Janeiro, 1979) since her death, 40 years ago. Largely self-taught and coming from an indigenous and working-class background, Djanira, as she is widely known in Brazil, emerged on the Brazilian art scene in the 1940s. Although she developed a solid career during her lifetime, in recent decades her work has been left aside of the narratives of the Brazilian art history. This exhibition seeks to examine Djanira’s fundamental role in the formation of Brazilian visual culture and to reposition her work in 20th century art history.

The title Djanira: Picturing Brazil refers to the artist’s career path, life story and many trips around her country, as well as to her painting and its profound engagement with the reality around her. The reference to Brazil, in Djanira’s case, speaks of the extraordinary visual and symbolic repertoire she created from the everyday life, landscape and popular culture of her country, championing themes often marginalized by the elites. The exhibition includes works from all periods of Djanira’s artistic production, from the beginning of the 1940s to the end of the 1970s, and is arranged in loose chronological order, grouping works according to the artist’s main subjects: portraits and self-portraits, popular festivities and diversions, representations of labor and workers, Afro-Brazilian and Catholic religiosity, and the Canela indigenous people of Maranhão, among various Brazilian landscapes and peoples.

Djanira: Picturing Brazil opens the cycle Women’s Histories, Feminist Histories at MASP, a year long program dedicated to women artists at the museum in 2019. The show will run alongside those of Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) and Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992), starting in April—three pioneers who produced works during the 20th century referencing popular and vernacular sources in different ways. On view through May 19, 2019, Djanira: Picturing Brazil is curated by Isabella Rjeille, assistant curator, and Rodrigo Moura, adjunct curator of Brazilian art, MASP.

Edited by Adriano Pedrosa, Isabella Rjeille and Rodrigo Moura, the fully illustrated 312-page catalog that accompanies the exhibition includes unpublished texts by the editors and by Carlos Eduardo Riccioppo, Frederico Morais, Kaira Cabañas and Luiza Interlenghi, as well as historical texts by Mario Pedrosa, Mark Berkowitz, Flávio de Aquino, Clarival do Prado Valladares and Lélia Coelho Frota. Published in separate editions in English and in Portuguese, the catalog reproduces 90 works by Djanira as well as wide selection from her archives, including letters, exhibition announcements, press clippings, and photographs.


Djanira: Picturing Brazil
ISBN: 978-85-310-0065-2

Djanira: a memória de seu povo
ISBN: 978-85-310-0064-5

To view installations shots and works in the exhibition click here.

For further information about the publications, contact loja@masp.org.br


Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 10am–6pm
Tuesday 10am–8pm
T +55 11 3149 5959

Press requests
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