The commissioned pieces, critical texts in the catalogue, video testimonies, and playlists made by Amaral’s family, friends, and students, not only reaffirm the multitude that reflects and is reflected in Amaral’s work, but also create an important historical archive for future critical developments of Amaral’s work, which offers such a powerful lens on the violence and melancholy of Brazil’s past and current political context. Sidney Amaral, who understood and denounced the tricks and traps of racism in institutions and art archives, and who included in his work the combination of hope and contradiction inherent in the task of all Black artists, in the greatness of their legacy and the absence of Brazilian historical tradition, echoes and remains.
Sidney Amaral: A Mirror on History was on display at Almeida & Dale Art Gallery, in São Paulo, from July 30 to September 24, 2022.
Maysa Martins is an art historian and educator. She holds a Master’s in Art History from UNIFESP, is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, and is a member of the Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS). Maysa is dedicated to researching Afro-Indian arts in Brazil and Latin America and works that challenge the limits of aesthetics and the historiography of Western art.
1. Saidiya Hartman, Venus in Two Acts, Small Axe Journal, 2008.
2. Sojourner Truth seated with photograph of her grandson,
James Caldwell of Co. H, 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, on her lap. Unknown authorship. Link: https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.52069/
3. Researcher Janaina Machado and educator Renato Lopes participated in the roundtable discussion, Places of a “teacher–artist”, chaired by the exhibition’s curator, Luciara Ribeiro. The public program of events for the exhibition also presented a round table discussion titled “Who will speak for us?” Sidney Amaral, his own spokesperson, with journalist Nabor Jr. and professor and curator Ale Salles.