The next MFAH exhibition features various “Afro-Atlantic stories”


Maxwell Alexandre, Éramos as cinzas e agora somos o fogo, da Pardo é papel series (We were the ashes and now we are fire, from the Brown Is Paper series), 2018, latex, bitumen oily hen, dye, acrylic, vinyl , graphite, ballpoint pen, charcoal and oil stick on brown paper, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, gift of Alfredo Setubal, Heitor Martins, e Telmo Porto, on the occasion of the Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition , 2019. exhibition “Afro-Atlantic Histories”, opening at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in October 2021.

Photo: copyright Maxwell Alexandre

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston will present “Afro-Atlantic Histories” in October, an in-depth, thoughtful and fascinating exhibition that traces the African diaspora of this continent through the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe between the 16th and the 21st century. . The works on display create a new narrative from many smaller cultural narratives informed by the transatlantic slave trade. The exhibition will make its US debut at the MFAH, having premiered three years ago at the Museu de Arte in São Paulo, Brazil.

The exhibition opens October 24 and runs through January 23, 2022, before traveling to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. American and Afro-Diasporic art. Her acceptance of the post ended her tenure as associate curator at MFAH.

She is curator of the North American tour of “Afro-Atlantic Histories”.

Fletcher says the 450 works organized by Adriano Pedrosa in Brazil were reconstructed into a more concise narrative of around 130-150 pieces for shows in the United States.

“It will be a bit more polished for an American audience,” she said.

But Fletcher assures that the historical weight of the series remains intact. The title alone – especially the plural “stories” – suggests an unprecedented scale of work.

“It’s an important title because it’s basically about exploring the myth of the big story,” Fletcher said. “The idea that there is a unique story of a diaspora. Plurality is an important aspect of this show. The suggestion there are several points of view to interpret. Here we offer you different ways to look at the past. You can see a story or a narrative in a work and next to it, see the same subject interpreted differently. “

The piece scores represent 24 different countries and include paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, temporal media and other formats.

Gary Tinterow, director of MFAH, described the original show in Brazil as “massive, awesome, awe-inspiring.” But the exhibition was also narrated with a strong emphasis on the ways in which the slave trade affected culture in Brazil.

“What Kanitra did was adapt the exhibit to tell more stories,” he says. “No more stories from North America. She found the most compelling and relevant objects to maintain the central point and demonstration of the exhibit while enhancing it for a different audience.

Both Fletcher and Tinterow commented on the use of “stories” in the title and theme of histórias, a Portuguese term that the MFAH press release reads, “can encompass both fictional and non-fictional narratives of a cultural nature, economic, personal or political “.

Tinterow says that Pedrosa “is very sensitive to the tongue. He was careful to find a title that suggests more than one story. History is not a single set of facts or conclusions. To truly understand the story and ourselves, you need multiple perspectives.

The idea of ​​following such a diaspora across time and space serves as an indicator of the interconnectivity of the world: the idea of ​​cultural practices, rituals and symbols being adapted and changed over and over again.

“Connections and cross-fertilization are central to this exhibit,” says Fletcher. “They are essential for understanding how a diaspora works. It is a question of interconnection between art, music, language, culture, religion. The way people interact.

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  • André Dansby

    Andrew Dansby covers culture and entertainment, both local and national, for the Houston Chronicle. He came to The Rolling Stone Chronicle in 2004, where he spent five years writing about music. He had previously spent five years in book publishing, working with publisher George RR Martin on the first two books in the series that would become “Game of Thrones” on television. images you have never seen. He has written for Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Texas Music, Playboy, and other publications.

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