Sunday Feb. 24, 18h
Pivô @ Kunsthalle Lissabon has the pleasure of presenting Recipes for Survival, by artist Maria Thereza Alves, with an introduction by Michael Taussig.
In 1983, when acclaimed Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves was an art student at Cooper Union in the United States, she returned to her native country to document the backlands of Brazil, where her family is from. Working with the local people in a collaborative process that has become the hallmark of her mature work, Alves photographed their daily lives and interviewed them to gather the facts that they wanted the world to know about them. Unlike documentation created by outsiders, which tends to objectify Brazil’s indigenous and rural people, Alves’s work presents her subjects as active agents who are critically engaged with history. Following the images are texts in which the villagers matter-of-factly describe the grinding poverty and despair that is their everyday life—incessant labor for paltry wages, relations between men and women that often devolve into abuse, and the hopelessness of being always at the mercy of uncontrollable outside forces, from crop-destroying weather to exploitative employers and government officials. Though not overtly political, the book powerfully reveals how the Brazilian state shapes the lives of its most vulnerable citizens. Giving a voice to those who have been silenced, Recipes for Survival is, in Alves’s words, “about we who are the non-history of Brazil.”
This event is co-organized by Giulia Lamoni and Gillian Sneed. The book launch will include a short reading by the artist, followed by a conversation between Alves and Sneed.
Maria Thereza Alves is a Brazilian-born artist descended from the country’s indigenous, African, and European peoples. She is best known for her award-winning work Seeds of Change (2004–2018), which links ecology and colonial history. One of the founders of Brazil’s Green Party in São Paulo, Alves received the 2016–2018 Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, awarded to artists who take great risks to advance social justice in profound and visionary ways.
Gillian Sneed is an art historian and independent curator currently based in Lisbon. Her research focuses on contemporary Latin American art and feminist art histories across the Americas. She is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and she has written for Women’s Art Journal, Flash Art, AWARE Magazine, Art in America, and Texte zur Kunst.
Pivô @ Kunsthalle Lissabon is generously supported by República Portuguesa - Direção Geral das Artes, Foundation for Arts Initiatives and Maria and Armando Cabral Collection.