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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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Ayrson Heráclito

Ayrson Heráclito

(p.110) FIVE Ayrson Heráclito
Black Art in Brazil

Kimberly L. Cleveland

University Press of Florida

Ayrson Heráclito is a university-trained, multimedia artist from Bahia. This chapter uses several examples of his installations and performances to demonstrate how Heráclito draws from many of the familiar signs and themes of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé, while taking a more conceptual approach to the subject matter. He often incorporates culinary elements with local significance to reference Bahia’s regional history and makes transnational references to Africa and its influences on Brazilian society through his use of palm oil, sugar, and dried beef. The chapter reveals how, although highly-involved in Afro-Brazilian religion, Heráclito is rather ambivalent about the Afro-Brazilian art label with regard to his own artistic identity. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the artworks are linked to African cultures and practices in some form, though not through the ubiquitous regional signifiers of “blackness” that have come to be expected from black art and culture in Bahia.

Keywords:   Bahia, beef, Candomblé, Heraclito, history, identity, installation, palm oil, performance, sugar

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