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Artists discuss what to expect in new USFCAM exhibit

The USF Contemporary Art Museum (USFCAM) hosted a symposium Friday to discuss its exhibit on Brazilian social and political issues that debuted later that evening. 

The exhibit, Histórias/Histories: Contemporary Art from Brazil, features work from prominent Brazilian artists Luiz Zerbini, Caio Reisewitz, Jonathas de Andrade, Sonia Gomes and Virginia de Medeiros. 

In attendance were Reisewitz, Sandra Cinto — another artist whose work would be featured in a concurrent installation — as well as Noel Smith, curator of Histórias/Histories, and Margaret Miller, the director of the Institute for Research and Art, which includes the USFCAM. 

“The artists that Noel Smith and her collaborator, Agnaldo Farias, professor at the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo, have selected for the exhibition works that creatively and strategically reflect on current realities in Brazil informed by aspects of art history, colonialism, economics, progress and a range of social issues,” Miller said.

“This exhibition underscores our primary mission to bring to the university and the Tampa Bay community vital investigative and scholarly exhibitions with related educational programs that provoke dialogue.”

Reisewitz, born in São Paulo, is considered one of Brazil’s leading contemporary photographers whose work has been shown in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, New York and Barcelona. Both of his parents were of German decent, and after his father died when he was 18 years old, he decided to move there, where he studied fine arts and specialized in photography. Some of his most memorable pieces are his collages, which emphasize the combination and contrast of modern architecture and nature.

“For me, it’s also very important to speak in my work about the social contrast, about the environment,” Reisewitz said. “I speak a lot about the poor situation of the forest and also social situation that the city grows and eats the forest.

“For me, the architectura is super related to the human activity.”

After the brief explanation of the gallery and the types of works displayed, the floor was open to questions for both the curator and artists. 

“I hope they (the students) learn something. First of all, that they enjoy seeing the art. And second of all, that they learn a little something about Brazil,” Smith said. “Brazil shares a lot of problems with the U.S. — water problems, homelessness, violence, all of these things. These are not social issues that are just happening in Brazil; we share them. So, I think in some ways they may help us to gain a little bit of a perspective on the things we share, the things we don’t share, bring us a little closer together.” 

Reisewitz said he hopes to inspire reflection in the students as they view his artworks. 

He will be returning to USF for another lecture about water, or the lack thereof, at the Patel Center Auditorium Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. Histórias/Histories will remain in the USFCAM until Mar. 5.