TUPI OR NOT TUPI – That is (STILL) the question – The Centenary of The Modern Arts Week of SAO PAULO 1922-2022

By Juliana Areias – Brazilian singer-songwritter based in Perth, Western Australia.

Part of a handmade collage poster made by Juliana Areias in 1998 in Geneva.

“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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Original Poster of Modern Art Week 1922, Antropophadite Manisfest 1928 and Avenida Paulista – Sao Paulo in the 1920’s
Antropophadite Manifest by modest author Oswald de Andrade. Image by modern visual artist Tarsila Amaral
Brazilian music & history Concert-Conference Series presented by Juliana Areias accompagned by guitarist Carlos Franco at “La Maison de la Culture Bresilienne Paulo Freire” (Paulo Freire Brazilian Culture Centre founded by his daughter Cristina Freire. event produced by Sonara Oliveira) in Geneva, 1999. Paulo Freire is Brazil greatest educator, who used to have his “Veredas Room” at Juliana Areias’s primary and secundary school IMACO (Instituto de Ensino Imaculada Conceição) in São Paulo.
Posters and presentations of Juliana Areias and Virginia Pedrazzani and their collaboration on the”Tupi or not Tupi” project in Switzerland 1996-2000. Including their performances at The Montreux Jazz Festival 1998, at Fete de Geneve – Bains de Paquis 1998 and at Au Pigmee – The Artamis – Geneva 1998, and Juliana Areias & Jazz Brasil at L’Ethno – Geneva in 2000.
Jazz Brasil Trio – singer Juliana Areias, guitarist Carlos Franco and saxophonist Plinio de Oliveira performing for the Consulate of Brazil at Latitude Brasil and at Casting Cafe – support charity causes – 1997
Juliana Areias’s poem “Flor de Genebra” ( Geneva’s flower) – winner of the 1s Prize of the Associacion des Acacias Literary Competition – Portuguese Cathegory 1999
Juliana Areias’s interview about her performance at The Art Gallery of Western Australia during the New York Exbition “Van Gogh, Dali and Beyong”, where she talks about the “Modern Art Week of Sao Paulo” and her admiration for Frida Kahlo’s surreal work.
Perth Symphony Orchestra with Juliana Areias, Lois Olney and Steve Hersby and Spirit Ensemble at 2021 Western Australian of the Year Awards
Upcoming Multicultural Concert Koort Boodja (Heartland) at The Perth Concert Hall on this Saturday 19 February 2022, featuring Juliana Areias as one of the soloists of the West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra, perfoming the Grammy winning “Calling All Dawns” by Christopher Tin featuring 14 different languages present in Perth, Western Australia. From top left:
Thierryno Gangou, vocalist (French)
Magda Lisek, vocalist (Polish)
Alexandra Allan, oboe
Julie Yeh, vocalist (Mandarin)
Gabrielle Scheggia, vocalist (Irish)
Jayden Boundry, didgeridoo
Natasha Eldridge, vocalist (Noongar & English)
Emma Kasher, vocalist (Hebrew)
Haka for Life, Kapa haka & vocalists (Māori)
Saraswati Mahavidhyalaya, vocalists (Sanskrit)
Jocelyn Campbell, vocalist (Farsi)
Akiko Miyazawa, vocalist (Japanese)
Dylan Atkins-Walters, vocalist (Latin)
Madoc Plane, vocalist (Swahili)
Juliana Areias vocalist (Portuguese)

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.