The year 2022 began with Abdias Nascimento on the program of two of the country’s major museums, The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) and The Inhotim Institute. With the exhibit Primeiro Ato: Abdias Nascimento, Tunga e o Museu de Arte Negra (First Act: Abdias Nascimento, Tunga and the Museum of Black Art), in December 2021, Inhotim launched the project Abdias Nascimento e o Museu de Arte Negra (Abdias Nascimento and the Museum of Black Art), planned to take place in four acts over two years, from 2021 to 2023. At the MASP, the exhibit Abdias Nascimento: um artista panamefricano (Abdias Nascimento: A Panamefrican Artist), curated by Amanda Carneiro and Tomás Toledo, launched in February, focuses on Nascimento’s artistic activity, considered to be the artist’s largest individual exhibit to date. With approximately 61 paintings divided into seven areas, relationships between the author’s visual and intellectual production were established, in addition to presenting an extensive display of related documentation.
Both exhibits were funded by the Afro-Brazilian Studies and Research Institute (IPEAFRO) – an institution Abdias Nascimento established to maintain his legacy and promote acts of remembering Afro-Brazilian cultures, currently directed by Elisa Larkin Nascimento, who cofounded IPEAFRO together with Abdias, and with support from Julio Menezes Silva. For Larkin Nascimento, having Abdias Nascimento featured is part of the Institute’s commitment, which was only made possible because of Black movements and their articulations. “I can only attribute this to Black activism in the world, which has this world as a space of transformation,” she emphasizes.
With his experience in multiple roles, as an artist, writer, professor, politician, activist, researcher, playwright, actor, poet and journalist, in addition to having lived in countries such as the USA and Nigeria, participating actively in events related to the Black movements in the Americas, Africa and Europe, Nascimento’s contribution to the arts is undeniable. In the 1940s, together with a group of Black artists and intellectuals, he launched the Black Experimental Theater (TEN), a project that introduced Black protagonism to dramatic theater and to national dramaturgy. In the visual arts, he has acted as artist, collector, researcher, curator and manager, of the well-known project of the Museum of Black Art (MAN), where he brought together an important collection for the Brazilian arts. As an artist, his prolific production was underpinned, primarily, by Yoruba thought and geometric forms.