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38. Abaporu, 1928. This icon of Brazilian Modernism was painted by Tarsila do Amaral as a gift for Oswald de Andrade. The name means "man eater" or cannibal. The picture marks the transition from the Pau-Brasil phase to the movement called Antropofagia (Cannibalism, as defined by another manifesto written by Oswald). The biting humor of Antropofagia had echoes of Surrealism and Freudian psychoanalytic theory, and drew on Sixteenth century accounts of European encounters with the Indians in Brazil to create a metaphor for the assimilation of outside influences and the elaboration of a self-confident Brazilian art and identity. Tarsila probably found sources for her picture in the fanciful Sixteenth century illustrated travel literature, such as that by Sir John Mandeville, that described monstrous beings encountered on voyages to little-known parts of the world.


Latin American and Iberian Institute / University of New Mexico


Brazil Slide Series Collection: This article is copyrighted by the Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) of the University of New Mexico. Rights permission is for standard academic, non-commercial, use of these materials. Proper citation of this material should include title, author, publisher, date, and URL. Copyright Latin American and Iberian Institute University of New Mexico 1997


Brazil: Modern Brazilian Painting