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Black Art in BrazilExpressions of Identity$
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Kimberly L. Cleveland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044767

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044767.001.0001

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Race, Identity, and Cultural Literacy

Race, Identity, and Cultural Literacy

Visual Signs of “Blackness” in Art

(p.22) ONE Race, Identity, and Cultural Literacy
Black Art in Brazil

Kimberly L. Cleveland

University Press of Florida

This chapter explores twentieth-century constructions of race in Brazil as they relate to ethnic and artistic identities, as well as how artwork is able to convey ideas of blackness through visual vocabulary. The chapter underscores fundamental disparities between official and popular attitudes toward race, in addition to differences in approaches to racial identification between Brazil and the United States. It also examines the question of black ethnicity and how the widely-held assumption that black ethnicity is tied to black cultural production has had implications for artistic identities. The chapter concludes with an investigation of how works of art can be deconstructed into identifiable signifiers of blackness. Following a basic introduction to semiotic theory, the chapter explains how this theory is applicable to various artworks to decipher and weigh the underlying meanings of blackness communicated through visual vocabulary.

Keywords:   black art, black culture, Brazil, culture, ethnicity, identity, race, semiotics, signifiers, vocabulary

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