By Juliana Areias – Brazilian singer-songwritter based in Perth, Western Australia.
“Tupi or not Tupi? That is the question” that was made by Brazilian modernist author Oswald de Andrade at his “Antropophagite Manifest” in 1928. This week marks the centenary of the 1922 “Modern Art Week of São Paulo”, when artists with “vanguard aspirations” such as Oswald de Andrade and composer Heitor Villas-Lobos got together to think and discuss how Brazilian culture and the arts should not only value European Aesthetics but should reflect its own unique mixture of elements. This capacity of absorbing outside influences and at the same time mixing it with its own strong roots giving back to the world something new, is still what for me makes Brazilian Culture and Arts extraordinary. (In fact, I believe the mixture is what makes any culture richer, this is what we are also creating in Australia).
The Centenary of the Modernist Week of São Paulo, has been provoking a huge discussion and opportunity for Brazil to review these ideas and think about its cultural identity again. A lot of criticisms have been made about how relevant and at the vanguard the week truly was in its own time. Although it is great to try to review its history and context, it is clear that it is still very relevant 100 years on, otherwise nobody would be writing about it now.
In my art practice particularly, modernist ideas have been always pivotal as you can see by some of the projects I was already involved with in Switzerland in late 1998 and how these values are still present in my projects in Australia including my concert at the Western Australia Art Gallery in 2013 and my most recent collaborations with the Perth Symphony Oschestra in 2021 and this weekend with the West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating First Nation and all immigrants contributions to this place we love to call home. Tupi or not Tupi, that is still the question.
*Tupi Guarani was the main spoken indigenous language in Brazil before the arrival of the Portuguese colonisers.
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Ruy Castro special article “A vanguarda oficial” about the Centenary of the 1922 Modern Arts Week of Sao Paulo published at the Sao Paulo Newspaper “Folha de São Paulo” on 7 February 2022, Juliana Areias’s birthday.