São Paulo starts 1922 Modern Art Week celebrations

Marginalized districts are depicted as the source of a new modernism

Published in 25/01/2022 - 12:48 By Bruno Bocchini - São Paulo

The city of São Paulo has chosen this day (Jan. 25)—its 468th anniversary—to launch the cultural program to celebrate one of the most emblematic events in the capital’s history: the 1922 Modern Art Week, which took place a hundred years ago, on February 13.

A hundred years later, however, in lieu of the intellectuals that spearheaded the event at São Paulo’s Theatro Municipal, the city is showing how marginalized communities on its outskirts—the periferia—now serves as a powerhouse of the “new modernism.”

“In 1922, the intellectual class was the group who first rose the curtain on modernism. Today, a hundred years after modernists claimed art as truly ours, the group presenting modernism is the mighty periferia. You don’t have to be in academia to develop culture. The culture from the periferia exudes from the pores, not just from books,” said São Paulo Culture Secretary Aline Torres.

“These great thinkers were masters of their own voices back in 1922. They were the São Paulo elite, the Brazilian elite, the cultural elite. Today, you look around and you see Linn da Quebrada, Gloria Groove, and so many other artists from the periferia bringing about cultural innovation,” Torres said.

The Theatro Municipal

The city’s traditional Theatro Municipal—which served as the stage for the 1922 Modern Art Week—will be part of the festivities, this time alongside other stages scattered across the city. The plan is to make the public from downtown become more familiar with the artists from further-away neighborhoods, and vice-versa, the secretary pointed out.

“The idea is to have artists from the periferia perform on major stages and have artists that usually perform on these stages play in the periferia. That’s the exchange, fostering the truth and promoting public formation and culture. We’re having a great number of attractions at the Theatro, including activities showing modernism from Brasilândia [a district in North São Paulo],” Torres added.

Strengthening connections, she went on to say, will not be limited to geography, but should expand to include language. “If you ask a high school teenager, especially from public schools, ‘Do you know what Modernism Week is?’ they’ll say, ‘No, that’s not for me. I don’t know what that is.’”

“We want to see just the opposite, bringing modernism closer, with the language of young people, the language of the periferia, showing that it’s also part of this new modernism.”

A section of the program can be found here.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Graça Adjuto

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