Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil
The complex history and artistic expression of this region’s popular art.
Did you know that 10 times more Africans were brought in bondage into Brazil than into the United States? Did you know that the Northeast of Brazil has the largest population of those of African descent outside Africa? Do you know how deeply the African heritage has influenced the culture of present-day Brazil?
Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints explores how the ancient cultures of Africa blended with indigenous and colonial Portuguese traditions to form the vibrant and complex cultural mosaic of modern Brazil. Engaging photographs and works of popular art, including sculptures, paintings, prints, religious objects, toys, and booklets of poetry will draw visitors into the complex and vibrant culture of the Northeast of Brazil and introduce the festivals, heroes, and spiritual traditions that give shape and meaning to the daily lives of the Nordestinos, common people of Brazil’s Northeast.
The exhibition explores how diverse traditions come together in the region and uses work by historical and contemporary artists to illuminate a fascinating history that reaches into modern Brazil. Throughout, the exhibition explores the resilience and vitality of modern-day descendants of Africa.
Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints is an exhibition in three parts:
“The Land & its People” presents the complicated history of sugar plantations and African slavery in colonial Brazil. It introduces the parched backlands of the sertão and the challenging life of the vaqueiros (cowboys), retirantes (migrant workers), and the heroes of the ordinary people of the Northeast.
“Expressions of Faith” presents the rich African-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, exploring its historic African roots and its intersection with Roman Catholicism. Photographs, paintings, and sacred objects show colorful processions, festivals, and pilgrimages of these two religious traditions.
“Poetry, Celebration & Song” features literatura de cordel (literature on a string) produced by singing poets who “sell” their songs in small chapbooks in markets and fairs. Poetry, prints, and sculptures inspired by folk legends and current events signal the dynamic fusion of tradition and improvisation in the culture of the Northeast.
Throughout the exhibition, the design will make use of colorful immersive environments. Hands-on interactive, music, and video components will combine with large-scale photographs and original artifacts to show the complex history, religious devotion, and artistic expression that come together in the popular art of the Northeast of Brazil.
Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints toured from September 2015 through March 2020.
September 1–October 20, 2015
Culture Lab at Mid-America Arts Alliance
Kansas City, MO booked
November 10, 2015–January 7, 2016
Bravos Valley Museum of Natural History
Bryan, TX booked
January 28–March 16, 2016
Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art
Fayette, MO booked
April 6–May 25, 2016
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen, MI booked
June 18–August 14, 2016
American University Museum
Washington, DC booked
September 1–October 20, 2016
Union, NJ booked
November 10, 2016–January 7, 2017
Wyandotte County Historical Society
Bonner Springs, KS booked
January 28–March 16, 2017
Worcester Center for Crafts
Worcester, MA booked
April 6–May 25, 2017
University of New England Art Gallery
Portland, ME booked
June 18–August 14, 2017
Appleton Museum of Art
Ocala, FL booked
September 1–October 20, 2017
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
New London, CT booked
November 10, 2017-January 7, 2018
Kansas City, MO booked
February 1-March 16, 2018
University of Hawaii-West O'ahu
Kapolei, HI booked
June 16–August 11, 2018
Laurel County Public Library
London, KY booked
September 1–October 13, 2018
State University of New York at Geneseo
Geneseo, NY booked
November 10, 2018–January 7, 2019
MonDak Heritage Center
Sidney, MT booked
January 28–March 12, 2019
Missouri Southern State University
Joplin, MO booked
April 6–August 11, 2019
Sioux City Public Museum
Sioux City, IA booked
September 1–October 20, 2019
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA booked
November 10, 2019–January 7, 2020
Branigan Cultural Center
Las Cruses, NM booked
January 28–March 16, 2020
Shawnee, OK booked
Exhibition Details & Specifications
Barbara Cervenka and Marion Jackson, directors, Con/Vida – Popular Arts of the Americas
Organized ByCon/Vida – Popular Arts of the Americas and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI, in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance
The exhibition will feature several freestanding units focused on thematic areas; a collection of objects, artifacts, photographs, and paper ephemera; audio/video features; interactive elements; semi-immersive environment settings; and wall-mounted banners and graphics.
On-site support is free to the opening venue for every new NEH on the Road exhibition and to first-time hosting venues on a limited basis.
Expense covered by NEH on the Road. Exhibitor will coordinate with NEH on the Road's registrar for all outgoing transportation arrangements.
Number of Crates/Total Weight
21 crates and 1 tub/6,570 pounds
The exhibition is fully insured by NEH on the Road at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.
Download the glossary here.
Afoxé—A Carnival parading tradition practiced in Bahia to express African identity through singing, drumming, and dancing.
Agogô—A metal bell that is used as a percussion instrument in Candomblé ceremonies.
Anastácia—She a legendary enslaved African princess now regarded by many in Brazil as a popular saint. She is depicted wearing a face mask as she was punished for resisting the advances of her master. She is a symbol of resilience and resistance in Brazil.
Antonio Conselheiro—This was the religious leader of a group of peasants and the hero of the community called Canudos.
Arte Popular—This literally means “popular art’” or art of the common people (not academically trained artists) in the poorer, less educated sectors of Brazilian society. In South America, the word “popular” refers to ordinary. Arte popular includes objects created for use in daily life and or for celebratory occasions in the community or objects intended to illustrate and communicate community history and stories.
Axé (Ah SHAY)—A force, energy, and spirit in the universe.
Bahia—The largest state in the Northeast of Brazil.
Baiano—A male person born in Bahia.
Baiana—A female person born in Bahia. This is also the term commonly used to refer to women of Bahia who dress in white lace dresses and sell traditional African foods in the streets and squares of the city of Salvador.
Baião (by-OUN)—A popular form of syncopated dance music of the Northeast.
Bendito—A praise song, linked with popular Catholicism and devotional music of pilgrimages in the sertão.
Berimbau—A single stringed percussion instrument of African origin that is commonly incorporated into the performance of capoeira.
Caatinga (ka-TING-ah)—The thorny underbrush of the sertão. Also known as a biome or ecosystem in which this thorny brush resides.
Caboclo—A person or mixed race, usually drawing from Portugese and indigenous roots; also the name of a deity in some houses of Candomblé honoring the indigenous spirit in Brazilian history.
Candomblé (kahn-dom-BLAY)—An African-Brazilian religion formed mainly from religious traditions of Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu people (traditions from the Congo and the Gulf of Benin in Africa). Music, dance, and ecstatic ritual are used as a means for Candomblé practitioners.
Cangaceiros (kon-ga-SEHR-oh)—These were outlaws in Brazil’s backlands who attacked towns, burned ranches, and stole from the rich. At times the crimes of these bandits were met with sympathy and even admiration from the poor. They wore a distinctive dress including colorful kerchiefs and leather hats with upturned brims and cartridge belts across their chests. Lampião is a famous and colorful cangaceiro.
Cantoria—A stylized singer/poet tradition in the northeast region of Brazil in which singers improvise to comment on and offer humorous criticism of social issues and public figures.
Capoeira (kop-o-WAY-ra)—This is a form or martial art that was often masked as a dance. It focuses on the legs and feet and capoeiristas are forbidden from striking with their hands.
Carranca (ca-HAHN-ka)—This is a wooden carving attached to the front of a riverboat. These figureheads depict human or animal faces that traditionally have a scowl or menacing face to frighten away intruders. The carrancas served as guardians and also identified different merchants travelling on a waterway.
Church of the Bonfim—This is a Catholic Church in the city of Salvador, dedicated to the Crucifixion of Jesus. Both Catholics and initiates of Candomblé revere the church as a place of miracles.
Cruzeiros—A currency in Brazil that circulated from 1942–86 and 1990–93 and was replaced by the real.
Engenhos—Plantations in Brazil that produced sugar for export. Fields of sugar cane were planted and harvested; mills with heavy presses were used to grind juice from the cane, and huge boilers boiled the juice into syrup and refined raw sugar. Slaves worked on the sugar plantations and sugar was traded for slaves.
Ex-votos—These are symbols of prayers offered or answered that are made of carved wood or wax that represent hands, feet, heart, or eyes. Often they are hung from the ceiling or posted on walls as a sign of prayer or petition. Ex-votos are sold in local markets to religious pilgrims paying homage to a saint.
Exu (e-SHU)—In Candomblé, this mischievous spirit is the messenger who travels between the orixás and believers. Exu loves to play tricks and his colors are red and black.
Ferramenteiro—An artisan who works in iron.
Ferramentas—These are hand-wrought iron symbols of African deities called orixás in the African-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. Ferramentas are abstract representations of spirits and are often found in shrines or altaras.
Filha de santo—A female initiate of Candomblé.
Filho de santo—A male initiate of Candomblé
Forró (fo-HO)—A popular Brazilian northeastern dance music.
Ganho—This was an earning system typical of urban slavery in Brazil.
Irmandade da Boa Morte (Sisterhood of the Good Death)—This is the oldest functioning women’s mutual aid society in Brazil. It was established by free and enslaved black women in the early 1800s to care for members in illness and death.
Lampião (lahm-pee-OUN)—A famous bandit or cangaceiro of Brazil’s Northeast. His band of outlaws terrorized the backlands in the 1920s and 1930s for nearly twenty years until he was killed by the state militia in 1938.
Literatura de cordel (lit-er-a-TUR-ah de cor-del)—This refers to stories on a string; a popular literature tradition featuring small inexpensive pamphlets of poetry that were sold clipped to strings in markets.
Lula da Silva—Lula was the founding member and later President of the Workers’ Party. He ran for president of Brazil three times and was elected in 2002. He emphasized social development and initiated a campaign to eradicate hunger.
Malês—This term is from the Yoruba word imale which means Muslim—malês were black Muslim slaves in Brazil and because they were literate, were able to organize a number of slave revolts.
Mamulengos—Marionette-like figures with articulated joints and chins that are sold in markets of Brazil.
Maria Bonita—She was a famous cangaceiro, one of Lampião’s gang members and his beautiful consort.
Movimento Sem Terra—The Movement of the Landless, or MST was founded in 1984 by landless workers to demand a more equitable distribution of land.
Naná (na-NAH)—Orixá of the moon who is the eldest of the female orixás and identifies with death and life, rain and earth. Her color is purple.
Nordeste (nor-DEST-chee)—The Northeast region of Brazil.
Nordestinos—These are the ordinary people of Brazil’s Northeast region. There are 53 million inhabitants of the Northeast region.
Ogum (o-GUM)—Orixá of iron and blacksmiths. This is the strong and fearless orixá of iron and war who protects workers, especially those who work with metal. His colors are blue and green.
Omolú (o-mo-LU)—Orixá of pestilience and healing. He is covered in a straw garment and is bent over by his wounds. His colors are red, black, and white.
Orixás (o-ree-SHAS)—These are the deities in the Candomblé religion that reflect different aspects of God. Each orixá has its own story, own temperament, own color, and own symbols such as fans, swords, bows, and arrows etc.
Ossain (o-sigh-IN)—The orixá of medicines and herbs who wears the colors of the forest (green and brown) and carries a bird on his staff.
Oxalá (o-sha-LA)—The father of the orixás who is connected to wisdom, creation, life and death, and associated with the color white.
Oxossi (o-SHOW-si)—Orixá of the Hunt who carries a bow and arrow. His colors are blue or green.
Oxum (o-SHOOM)—Orixá of fresh waters whose colors are gold and yellow. Oxum is connected to beauty.
Oxumaré (o-shum-a-RE)—The orixá of the rainbow and serpents. He/she is clothed with many colors and is always in motion. He/she carries a serpent, sometimes on his/her head.
Padre Cicero—Cicero Romão Batista (1844–1934) is widely known as Padre Cicero and was a Catholic Priest and civic leader in Juazeiro do Norte. He was loved by the poor and known as a worker of miracles. A 75-foot statue of Padre Cicero stands in foothills outside of Juazeiro do Norte. Every year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to this city in his honor.
Pai or Mãe de Santo (Pai or Mãe rhymes with why) (father or mother of saints)—The priest or priestess of Candomblé religion.
Pelé—Born in 1940, he is regarded as the best Brazilian soccer player of all time. Now retired, he once received the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF and in 1999 was named Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football.
Pelourinho (pel-oo-REEN-yo)—This is the historic center of the city of Salvador and since 1985 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 1500s, it was an important public square in the city of Salvador. It contains the largest concentration of colonial architecture in the Americas.
Quilombo—The quilombo is a runaway slave community. The most famous is located in Palmares, which was called an African slave state. A famous hero of the quilombo is Zumbi.
Repentistas (he-pen-CHEE-stas)—These are improvisational singing poets found at markets or fairs.
Retirantes (hey-chee-RAHN-tes)—These are people who have fled the sertão region due to drought and move to the South to larger cities in search of work.
Rosario—The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks is known as Rosario and stands in the historic Pelourinho square in Salvador.
Seca (SHE-kah)—A period of drought in the sertão.
Senzalas—These were plantation slave quarters where enslaved blacks of different ethnicities and from regions in Africa lived. Senzalas were located a distance from the house of the landowner.
Sertão (ser-TOUN)—This is the desert-like, dry, and sparsely populated place that comprises the interior of the Northeast of Brazil. It’s also known as the backlands. Historically, cattle ranchers, poor farmers, and fugitives from enslavement have lived in this region.
Terreiros—A house of Candomblé or a temple. The terreiros preserved African religion, language, cuisine, ornament, rhythms, dance, song and poetry. One of the oldest houses of Candomblé in Salvador is Ilé Axé Opo Afonja.
Xangô (shan-GO)—The orixá of Justice and fire who carries a double-headed axe. His colors are red and white.
Xilogravura (shee-low-gra-VU-rah)—These are woodblock prints created and valued as works of art, but sometimes sold in the markets. Woodblock prints were used for the covers of literatura de cordel.
Yansan (yahn-SAN)—Orixá of the Wind and Storms thunder, wind, and lightning. Yansan is known for her fiery temper. Her colors are red and white.
Vaqueiros (va-KEHR-ohs)—These are the cowboys of the dry backlands of the Northeast of Brazil, in the sertão region. They often dressed in leather, drove cattle over large tracts of land, and had the responsibility of caring for them and ensuring their survival.
Yemanja (ye-man-JA)—Orixá of the seas who is also the orixá of motherhood and protectress of sailors; she is associated with the colors silver, white, rose, or light blue.
Zumbi—He is a legendary hero among African Brazilians that was born in the quilombo of Palmares in 1655. Zumbi was born free but was captured by the Portugese and was given to a priest at age six. He escaped and returned to the quilombo of Palmares at age fifteen. He became a leader of the quilombo and was killed in a battle with the Portuguese in 1697. November 20 is known in Brazil as the Day of Black Consciousness in celebration and honor of Zumbi.
Exhibition Reference Materials
Download this bibliography here.
Books for Adults
Almeida, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form. Berkeley: Blue Snake Books, 1993.
Almeida, Livia Maria de, and Ana Maria Portella and Margaret Read MacDonald, eds. Brazilian Folktales (World Folklore Series). Westport: Libraries Unlimited, 2006.
Andrews, George Reid. Afro-Latin America. 1800-2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
*Arons, Nichaolas Gabriel. Waiting for Rain: The Politics and Poetry of Drought in Northeast Brazil. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 2004.
Aronson, Marc and Marina Budhos. Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science. New York: Clarion Books, 2010.
Barickman, B. J. A Bahian Counterpoint: Sugar, Tobacco, Cassava, and Slavery in the Recõncavo, 1780-1860. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Benjamin, Thomas. The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians, and Their Shared History, 1400-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Bergad, Laird W. The Comparative Histories of Slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Brecht, Fatim. House of Miracles: Votive Sculptures of Northeastern Brazil. New York: The Americas Society, 1989.
Burns, E. Bradford. A History of Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press, 3rd edition, 1993.
Capone, Stefania. Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomblé. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.
*Chandler, Billy Jaynes. Bandit King: Lampião of Brazil. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1978.
*Crook, Larry. Focus: Music of Northeast Brazil. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2009.
Cunha, Euclides da. Rebellion in the Backlands (Os Sertoes). Translated by Samuel Putnam. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1944.
Curran, Mark J. Fifty Years of Research on Brazil: A Photographic Journey. Victoria: Trafford Publishing, 2014.
*Curran, Mark J. Brazil’s Folk-Popular Poetry—A Literatura De Cordel. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2010.
Dawson, Allen Charles. In Light of Africa: Globalizing Blackness in Northeast Brazil. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.
*De Queiros Mattoso, Katia M. To Be a Slave in Brazil: 1550–1888. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987.
Dinneen, Mark. Brazilian Woodcut Prints. London: Routledge, 2000.
Dinneen, Mark. Listening to the People’s Voice: Erudite and Popular Literature in North East Brazil. London and New York: Kegan Paul International, 1996.
Dow, Carol L. Magic from Brazil: Recipes, Spells, and Rituals. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.
Fausto, Boris. A Concise History of Brazil. Translated by Arthur Brakel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
French, Jan Hoffman. Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
*Galembo, Phyllis, ed. Divine Inspiration: From Benin to Bahia. Brooklyn: Athelia Henrietta Press, 1993.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. and Donald Yacovone. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. New York: Smiley Books, 2013.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. Black in Latin America. New York and London: New York University Press, 2011.
*Graden, Dale Torston. From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil: Bahia, 1835-1900. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.
Harding, Rachel E. A Refuge in Thunder: Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2000.
Hawthorne, Walter. From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Ickes, Scott. African-Brazilian Culture and Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013.
*Jackson, Marion and Barbara Cervenka, eds. Bandits and Heroes, Poets and Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil. Detroit: Con/Vida, 2013.
Johnson, Paul Christopher. Secrets, Gossip, and Gods—the Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
*Kerr, Gordon. A Short History of Brazil: From Pre-Colonial Peoples to Modern Economic Miracle. Harpenden: Pocket Essentials, 2014.
*King, Lindsey. Spiritual Currency in Northeast Brazil. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014.
Kraay, Hendrick. Afro-Brazilian Culture and Politics: Bahia, 1790s to 1990s. London: M.E. Sharpe, 1998.
Landes, Ruth. City of Women, 2nd ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.
Levine, Robert M. The History of Brazil. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003.
Levine, Robert M. and John J. Crocitti, eds. The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, and Politics. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.
*McGowan, Chris and Ricardo Pessanha. The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009.
Matory, J. Lorand. Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.
Mello e Souza, Laura. The Devil and the Land of the Holy Cross: Witchcraft, Slavery, and Popular Religion in Colonial Brazil. Translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.
Merrell, Floyd. Capoeira and Candomblé: Conformity and Resistance through Afro- Brazilian Experience. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005.
Myscofski, Carole A. Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches: Women and the Catholic Church in Colonial Brazil, 1500-1822. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.
Murphy, Joseph M. Working the Spirit: Ceremonies of the African Diaspora. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.
Omari, Mikelle Smith. From the Inside to the Outside: The Art and Ritual of Bahian Candomblé. Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History, 1984.
Press, Smithsonian Institution. Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press in association with the Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, Virginia, 2002.
Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade: The Story of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440- 1870. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Reis, João José. Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. Translated by Arthur Brakel. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.
*Rocha, Jan. Brazil in Focus: A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture. Brooklyn: Interlink Books, 1997.
Rodman, Selden. Genius in the Backlands: Popular Artists of Brazil. Greenwich: Devin-Adair Publishing, 1977.
Rogers, Thomas D. The Deepest Wounds: A Labor and Environmental History of Sugar in Northeast Brazil. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Romo, Anadelia A. Brazil’s Living Museum: Race, Reform, and Tradition in Bahia. The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Sansi, Roger. Fetishes and Monuments: Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the Twentieth Century. New York: Berghagn Books, 2007.
Schwartz, Stuart B. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550- 1835. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Selka, Stephen. Religion and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Bahia, Brazil. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2009.
Slater, Candace. Stories on a String. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982.
Sullivan, Edward J., ed. Body and Soul. New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2001.
Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade: The Story of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440- 1870. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
*Tribe, Tania Costa, ed. Heroes and Arts: Popular Art and the Brazilian Imagination. Cambridge: The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2001.
Voeks, Robert A. Sacred Leaves of Candomblé: African Magic, Medicine, and Religion in Brazil. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.
Wafer, James. A Taste of Blood: Spirit Possession in Brazilian Candomblé. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.
Books For a Younger Audience
Aloian, Molly. Cultural Traditions in Brazil. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2012.
Auch, Alison. Welcome to Brazil. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2003.
Barber, Nicola. Brazil. London: Arcturus, 2010.
Bauer, Brandy. Brazil: A Question and Answer Book. Mankato: Fact Finders, 2004.
Bojang, Ali Brownlie. Destination Detectives: Brazil. Chicago: Raintree, 2007.
Boraas, Tracey. Brazil. Mankato: Capstone Press, 2002.
Campos, Maria de Fatimo. B is for Brazil. London: Frances Lincoln, 2005.
Campos, Maria de Fatimo. Cassio’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Brazilian Village. London: Frances Lincoln, 2010.
Dahl, Michael. Brazil. Mankato: Bridgestone Books, 1999.
Deckker, Zilah. Countries of the World: Brazil. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2008.
DeSpain, Pleasant. Dancing Turtle: A Folk Tale from Brazil. Little Rock: August House LittleFolk, 1998.
Dicks, Brian. Brazil. London: Evans Brothers Limited, 2006.
Forest, Christopher. Brazil. Edina: Abdo Publishing Company, 2012.
*Freeland, Francois-Xavier. Kids Around the World: We Live in Brazil. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2007.
Gerson, Mary-Joan. How Night Came from the Sea: A Story from Brazil. New York: Little Brown and Company, 1994.
Goldsworthy, Steve. Brazil. New York: Weigl Publishers, 2014.
Green, Yuko. Camina from Brazil: Sticker Paper Doll. New York: Dover Publications, 2004.
Haskins, James and Kathleen Benson. Count Your Way Through Brazil. Minneapolis: Carolrhonda Books, 1996.
Heinrichs, Ann. Brazil: A True Book. New York: Children’s Press, 1997.
*Heinrichs, Ann. Brazil: Enchantment of the World. New York: Scholastic, 2008.
*Hollander, Malika. Brazil: The Culture. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003.
Hollander, Malika. Brazil: The People. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003.
Jones, Caryn Gracey. Teens in Brazil. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2007.
Kalman, Bobbie. Spotlight on Brazil. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2011.
Lynch, Emma. We’re From Brazil. Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishing, 2005.
Maldonada, Cristina Falcon. 1, 2, 3 Suddenly in Brazil: The Ribbons of Bonfim. Hauppauge: Barron’s Educational Series, 2011.
Morrison, Marion. Brazil. Chicago: Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishing, 2012.
Parker, Ed. Discover Brazil. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2010.
Richard, Christopher and Leslie Jermyn. Cultures of the World: Brazil. Salt Lake City: Benchmark Books, 2002.
Roop, Peter and Connie Roop. A Visit to Brazil. Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishing, 2008.
Seidman, David. Brazil ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Brazil. Mankato: Picture Window Books, 2007.
Shields, Charles J. Brazil. Broomall: Mason Crest Publishers, 2008.
*Streissguth, Thomas. Brazil in Pictures. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2003.
Tieck, Sarah. Brazil. Minneapolis: Abdo Publishing, 2014. Viera, Michelle Pinzon. Let’s Play Capoeira! Book 1: Training. New York: Capoeira Center New York, 2012.*
Walters, Tara. Brazil. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2008.
Weitzman, Elizabeth. Brazil. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 2008.
Black in Latin America. DVD. Directed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arlington: PBS, 2011.
*Brazil: An Inconvenient History. DVD. Directed by Phil Grabsky. Brighton: Seventh Art, 2008.
Bye Bye Brazil. DVD. Directed by Carolos Diegues. 1979; New York: New Yorker Studios, 2007.
Central Station. DVD. Directed by Walter Sales. 1998; New York: Sony Pictures, 1999.
A Dog’s Will (O Auto da Compadecida). DVD. Directed by Guel Arrares. Rio: Globo Filmes, 2000.
Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilé Aiyé. DVD. Directed by Carolina Moraes-Liu. 2010; Bahia: Documentario, 2012.
Ilé Aiyé (The House of Life). DVD. Directed by David Byrne. 1989; New York: Plexifilm, 2004.
Me You Them (Eu Tu Eles). DVD. Directed by Andrucha Waddington. 2000; New York: Sony Pictures, 2001.
Moro No Brasil. DVD. Directed by Mike Kaurismäki. Burbank: Milan Records, 2002.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. DVD. Directed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. 2013; Arlington: PBS, 2014.
The Middle of the World. DVD. Directed by Vincente Amorim. 2003; New York: Film Movement, 2005.
Quilombo. DVD. Directed by Carlos Diegues. 1984; New York: New Yorker Films, 2005.
Bethânia, Maria. Amor, Festa, Devoção. AIS, 2010. Compact disc.
Brown, Carlinhos. Omelete Man. London: EMI, 1998. Compact disc.
Caymmi, Dorival. The Essential Dorival Caymmi. Recorded 1954-85. New York: DRG, 2014. Compact disc.
Costa, Gal. Brazil A Todo Vapor. Recorded 1971. Lisboa: Universal Portugal, 1997. Compact disc.
*Djavan. A Voz, O Violão, A Música de Djavan. Recorded 1976. Brazil: Som Livre, 1996. Compact disc.
Djavan. Alumbramento. Recorded 1980. London: EMI, 1992. Compact disc.
———. Djavan. Recorded 1978. London: EMI, 1992. Compact disc.
———. Luz. Recorded 1982. New York: Sony Music LP, Reissue Sony CD, 1996. Compact disc.
———. Seduzir. Recorded 1981. London: EMI, 1991. Compact disc.
*Gil, Gilberto. As Canções de Eu Tu Eles. Recorded 2000. New York: Warner Specialty, 2001. Compact disc.
———. Early Years. Recorded 1967-70. Surrey: Wrasse, 2008. Compact disc.
———. Louvação. Recorded 1967. Amsterdam: Phillips, 2007. Compact disc.
Gil, Gilberto and Jorge Ben. Gil E Jorge. Recorded 1975. New York: Verve/Reissue Polygram, 1992. Compact disc.
Gonzaga, Luiz. Volta Pra Cutir. Berlin: BMG International, 2001. Compact disc.
*Various Artists. Brazil Classics 3: Forró, Etc. Compilation. New York: Luaka Bop Records, 1991. Compact disc.
Veloso, Caetano. The Best of Caetano Veloso. New York: Nonesuch Records, 2003. Compact disc.
Zé, Tom. Brazil Classics, Vol. 4. Compilation. New York: Luaka Bop, 1990. Compact disc.
Afro-Pop Worldwide is a radio program and online magazine dedicated to music from Africa and the African disaspora. It is distributed on Public Radio International and launched by NPR as a weekly series. Their website contains an excellent education resource that shares the history of samba in Brazil.
Forró is a style of Brazilian dance that developed from classic styles of folk music. This website provides an in-depth explanation of forró history and style.
The Brazilian Music Day is an online effort to identify and catalog all the recordings of Brazilian Music throughout the world and this website contains an online database that describes all genres of Brazilian music with definitions.
This article featured on public radio describes forró music and contains a video of Luiz Gonzaga performing.
This site describes the history of forró and other styles of Brazilian music. It also features a list of artists, albums, and genres and movements.
This YouTube page features a documentary produced in 2008 that presents a filmic look at Brazilian Forró, the people who perform it and places where it is from and performed today. The 27-minute film Por Amor ao Forro (For the Love of Forró), is in Portugese, but has English subtitles.
This website defines maracatu music/dance/performance.
This website defines varied instruments used to create styles of Brazilian music.
The World Wildlife Fund publishes a page about the caatinga—the natural habitat of scrubland in northeastern Brazil.
Capoeira Sul de Bahia San Francisco’s website contains information about Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, and its history and orixás.
The BBC has an online archived webpage that shares information about Candomblé beliefs, practice, history, and worship.
Culture Trip shares information about the art, food, culture and traveling in Brazil. A portion of the site describes a history of capoeira.
The Brazilian Arts Foundation features a thorough description and history of capoeira on this website.
ConVida: Popular Arts of the Americas
ConVida, the originating curators of Bandits & Heroes, published a website that contains information about the northeast of Brazil and specific links to some of the artists featured in the Bandits and Heroes exhibition.
This website of the Fundaçao Joaquim Nabuco Library provides an excellent description of cordel literature or literature de cordel.
Professor Mark Curran, author of several books about Brazil’s folk-popular poetry, shares a great online introduction to cordel literature, its role, value, and status in Brazil today.
General Brazil Information
This website features comprehensive information about geography, history, culture, cities and more with links to particular regions of Brazil.
Encyclopedia Brittanica’s website contains general information about land forms, population, politics, and other geographical facts about Brazil.
This site contains interactive links to additional information about regions in the country of Brazil.
This site features general information about Exu who serves as a messenger spirit in the African-Brazilian religion of Candomblé.
This site features general information about the legendary Lampião, bandit of the dry backlands of northeast Brazil.
This website features documentary film footage about backcountry bandits that incorporates film and stills from 1936, 1951, and 1964 with images of the famous Lampião and Maria Bonita and other cangaceiros (bandits).
This music site provides a general biography of northeast Brazilian musician Luis Gonzaga.
Afro Pop features an archived program about forro music and artist Luiz Gonzaga.
Malê Slave Revolt
This site describes the African history of Islamic slaves in Brazil and the attempted Muslim slave revolts against the Portuguese in 1814 and 1816 and the successful one on January 25, 1835.
This site provides a brief description of Palmares.
This website features information about the city center of Salvador that describes the architecture and history of the area.
This site contains information published by UNESCO about the history and architecture of Salvador’s city center, the Pelourinho, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This National Geographic article describes the past and present history and challenges of the quilombo— “traditionally defined as a community of escaped slaves to its new definition today as a community that had African ancestry related to a history of resistance to historical oppression.”
This link opens an in-depth description of quilombos and African history and settlement in Brazil in an archeological paper.
This website features information about the backcountry or backlands of Brazil (vegetation, culture, climate, etc.).
Slavery in Brazil
This website provides concise information about slavery in Brazil—its history and how it was abolished.
History Today has produced an online article that provides helpful information about how the slave trade shaped Brazil.
This site contains a comprehensive curriculum unit on slavery and compares and contrasts slavery in Brazil to that around the world.
This website contains a map of the triangle slave route and excerpts from a first-hand account of the slave trade in Africa, published in 1788.
The African American Registry published a concise page on the history of Brazil abolishing slavery.
This website contains useful video content from varied online sources about the history of the slave trade.
The International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, England, has in-depth information online about the history of the transatlantic slave trade.
This video (from the History Channel) shares information on the history of slavery in Brazil.
Sister Dulce (Irmá Dulce)
This five-minute YouTube video provides information about Brazil and Salvador’s Sister Dulce’s service to the poor.
This website provides biographical information about Sister Dulce Pontes of Salvador and her legacy.
This website features biographical information about the historical figure of Zumbi in Brazilian culture.
Timeline of Brazil
The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the land of the Americas between the countries of Spain and Portugal.
Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral (1467–1520) landed in Brazil and claimed the country for Portugal. He named it the land of the true cross—Terra da Vera Cruz.
The city of Recife was founded by the Portuguese.
The city of Salvador (the first capital of Brazil) was founded by the Portuguese.
The city of Rio de Janeiro was founded.
The city of Cachoeira was founded.
Gold was discovered in Brazil’s interior in the South.
Zumbi was killed in Palmares on November 20. This day is celebrated in Brazil as a day of Afro-Brazilian Consciousness.
Construction began in Salvador on the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of Blacks (the Rosario). It was built by and for freed and enslaved Africans who were not allowed to worship in Portuguese churches.
The city of Fortaleza was founded by the Portuguese as a military outpost.
Diamonds were discovered in Brazil’s interior in the South.
Rio de Janeiro became the capital of Brazil.
Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of San Ildefonso, which created Brazil’s borders (roughly where they still are today).
Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (1746–1792) (known as Tiradentes), led the first major rebellion in Brazil against Portuguese rule.
The Portuguese royal family (King João VI and family) left for Brazil after France invaded Portugal. This was the start of the Peninsular War (1807–14) between Napoleon and the allied powers of Spain.
King João VI (1767–1826) named his empire the Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil.
Pedro I (1798–1834), the son of the King of João VI, remained in Brazil as regent after his father returned to Portugal.
Pedro I declared Brazil an independent empire and named himself emperor.
Emperor Pedro returned to Portugal and left behind his five year old son, Pedro II, who took over as ruler of Brazil at the age of 15.
Six hundred mostly Muslim Africans (both enslaved and free) rose up in Bahia against slavery.
Pedro II’s (1825–1891) reign began.
The city of Juazeiro do Norte was founded by Padre Cicero (1844–1934).
The city of Aurora was founded.
Slavery was abolished in Brazil by Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil. Brazil was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery.
Pedro II was forced to give up his throne by the military at the urging of wealthy plantation owners. Brazil became a republic. General Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca (1827–1892) became the first president.
Southeastern Brazil became a coffee growing center and coffee became the country’s most important crop.
Brazil produced 65% of the world’s coffee.
A revolt placed Getulio Vargas (1882–1954) at the head of the provisional revolutionary government.
Vargas led a coup and ruled as dictator.
Lampião (1897–1938) and his band of cangaceiros were killed by the state militia.
Vargas was ousted in a military coup. The new constitution returned power to states.
Vargas was elected president, but faced stiff opposition.
Vargas committed suicide after the military gave him the option of either resigning or being overthrown.
Juscelino Kubitschek (1902–1976) was elected president.
Brasilia was chosen to replace Rio de Janeiro as the capital of Brazil.
A military dictatorship to rule Brazil began. The army took over the government.
The Trans-Amazonian Highway project encouraged settlement in the Amazon and put native species in danger.
The Movimento Sem Terra (Movement of the Landless or MST) was founded by landless workers to demand a more equitable distribution of land.
Civilians took over the Brazilian government.
Pelourinho (a neighborhood in the city of Salvador) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Democracy returned to Brazil with the election of President Fernando Collor.
A new constitution was adopted.
The first international Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro. More than 100 world leaders met to discuss ways to protect the environment.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (b. 1931) became president.
Brazil won the world cup in soccer.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (b. 1945) became Brazil’s first working-class president.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was re-elected.
Brazil’s first woman president, Dilma Rousseff (b. 1947) was elected.
Dilma Rousseff was re-elected.
Capoeira is added to the list of UNESCO’s Int
Speaker and Program Ideas
Download these program ideas, speaker suggestions, and list of performers here.
The Music of Northeast Brazil (lecture, workshop, or concert/performance)
Host a public program that describes and features the varied music genres that relate to this region including forró, baião, samba, or music that accompanies capoeira. Formats might include a lecture and demonstration, a pure concert or performance, or workshop where participants might explore Brazilian instruments such as the zambuma, atabaque, or pandeiro. Consider engaging Larry Crook, Michael Silvers, Daniel Sharp, or Jack Draper (contact information is included in the programming guide speaker resources section) for such a program and/or reach out to Brazilian Cultural Centers or capoeira groups in your region to locate musicians/performers. Additional Brazilian ensembles willing to perform are listed in the list of speakers and performers included in this programming guide.
African Diaspora and The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History of Slavery (illustrated slide talk, mini-symposia, gallery discussion, film screening, or teacher workshop)
More than five million Africans were enslaved and transported from Africa to Brazil between 1500 and 1870 compared to approximately one half million transported to the United States. Plan a public program that compares and contrasts the history of slavery in North America to that of Brazil by describing and defining the transatlantic slave trade and addressing where slave ships traveled to and from; what other cargo ships also transported across the Atlantic; and the economics of slavery in Brazil and the United States. Consider hosting a lecture for varied audiences (adults or as an outreach program in schools for teens or elementary students). Christopher Dunn could address this topic (contact information is included in the programming guide). Consider consulting the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History or a scholar from an African Studies Department at a regional University for other expert speakers near you. A talk or lecture could be paired with a film screening of Brazil—An Inconvenient Truth, The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, and/or Black in Latin America. The latter two films are directed by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. Please consult the bibliography for more information about these films.
Geography of Northeast Brazil: The Land and Its People (illustrated talk, mini-symposia, discussion, teacher workshop, or film series)
Host a program that presents an armchair overview of the northeast region of Brazil by describing the dry backlands area the sertão, the varied cities of the northeast and architecture, and the ordinary yet diverse people who live there. This topic can be narrowed to something more specific or kept broad as a snapshot “taste of Brazil” talk about people and places from an anthropologist’s perspective. Consider engaging Debora Ferreira, Timothy Finan, Donald Nelson, Jerry Davila, or Nicholas Arons—each could easily address most aspects of this topic. The original co-curators of the exhibition, Mame Jackson and Barbara Cervenka, could also present an illustrated armchair slide talk or gallery walk-through about people and place of this region. Please consult the programming guide for contact information for these speakers. Additional information about a variety of films that address this topic can be found in the bibliography of this guide and the film copyright section of the programming guide.
What Makes A Hero (or a Bandit)? (lecture or panel discussion)
Use this theme to compare and contrast local or national heroes with those of northeast Brazil and explore how and why some are considered as such. This program can feature and describe several of Brazil’s iconic figures (Zumbi, Lampião, and/or Pelé) and compare them to legendary others in America (or your own town) such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, George Washington, or a favorite United States sports superstar. A more specific focus on cangaceiros or outlaws in the northeast Brazil backlands such as the legendary figure of Lampião would address how this particular bandit of the backlands is also sometimes revered as a hero. Consult the programming guide for speaker ideas.
Taste of Brazil (cooking demonstration or workshop, dinner, or lecture)
Consider introducing the public to the country and traditions of Brazil through taste. Feature a local or nationally known chef who specializes in Brazilian cooking and/or reach out to a regional Brazilian Cultural Center or Portuguese Language Department in your community to locate a presenter who could discuss traditional flavors and recipes of northeast Brazil. Share information about the history and context of the food and the ingredients and steps for making it. Present this program as a workshop, lecture, cooking demonstration, or sit-down tasting dinner for select guests or museum members.
Cowboys—Here and There
Compare and contrast the history of the cowboy in Brazil to that of the cowboy from America’s West. Explore cowboy and vaqueiros dress and functionality; compare and contrast the cattle industry of the backlands of Brazil to America’s West; and compare and contrast the climate and topography of these two regions to understand similarities and differences between cultures.
Catholicism and Candomblé: Iconography of Orixás (illustrated talk, film screening and discussion of films addressing Candomblé)
Brazil is characterized by a blending of religions—the Portuguese brought Christianity to Brazil and enslaved Africans of Brazil brought traditions from their homeland. This mixing of cultures led to the development of the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. Use this topic as an opportunity to explore the history of this religion and specifically to compare and contrast the iconography and functionality of Catholic Saints to those of Candomblé orixiás. Consider this an opportunity to engage your local religious community and/or a nearby theological seminary to discuss aspects of Christianity to present together with an expert who can speak about Candomblé. Barbara Cervenka and Marion Jackson are excellent resources for this topic. Consult the list of speakers in the programming guide for contact information and other speaker ideas. Consider pairing a lecture or illustrated talk with a film screening of Ilé Aiyé or Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilé Aiyé (more information about these films is included in the bibliography and film copyright sections of this programming guide).
Arte Popular: Ex Votos, woodblock prints, Literatura de cordel (gallery tour, illustrated slide talk)
Using the handmade objects featured in this exhibition as inspiration, present an illustrated discussion or tour of the exhibition with co-curators Marion Jackson and Barbara Cervenka who can discuss who made these objects, why, when they were made, and how they are used or regarded today. Mark Curran is a world-renowned expert on cordel literature and would be happy to present about this art form and its history. Lindsey King would also be an excellent speaker and resource for discussing ex-votos. Consult the list of speakers for additional ideas and for speaker contact information.
Design a Wood Block Print (hands-on demonstration or workshop)
Using the woodblock prints featured in the exhibition as inspiration, invite a local or regional artist to lead a day-long woodblock print workshop or hands-on demonstration. This type of program could be paired with a lecture of literatura de cordel for greater contextualization of the history and tradition of printmaking in the Northeast as prints often were used to decorate the covers of this poetry format.
Through Poetry: Literatura de Cordel and Brazil’s History, Religion, and Politics
This form of arte popular or art made by the common people intended for everyday life is more than poetry: as it describes aspects of politics, history, and it reflects the roots of European traditions. Consider engaging co-curators Marion Jackson and Barbara Cervenka, literatura de cordel expert Mark Curran, or Debora Ferreira to discuss aspects of this poetry tradition and its subject matter. See the list of speakers for contact information and to gather additional program ideas about this topic.
Capoeira Performance, Workshop, or Demonstration
Originating as a defensive dance by slaves in Brazil, capoeira evolved in Afro-Brazilian communities as a hidden martial art form. Engage a local or regional capoeira group to teach and or demonstrate this art form through a workshop or performance and share with others the history and art of capoeira. This program can be tailored for varied audiences/ages. Consult the list of performers in the programming guide for capoeira and Brazilian arts resources.
Take a Trip to Brazil: Your Passport to Exploring (family day, K-12 tours, or adult groups on a gallery tour)
Use the self-guided gallery passport activity designed as a downloadable PDF component to this exhibition as a theme for creating a child-friendly family event or as a theme for exploring the exhibition as a small group. Set up stations in your museum for a family day program that further describe and explore what the culture of the Northeast is like though geography, dance, art-making, taste, etc. Use some of the hands-on activities from the education outreach kit or lesson ideas found in the programming guide as inspiration. Consider partnering with a regional Brazilian Cultural Center, a University’s Portuguese language program, or capoeira group to assist in planning, hosting, and marketing your tours or program. Consult the list of performers in the programming guide for capoeira and Brazilian arts resources.
List of Speakers
Severino João Alburquerque, PhD
Professor of Portuguese and Director of the Brazil Initiative, Division of International Studies
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Department of Spanish & Portuguese
1012 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
TOPIC(S): General introduction of Northeast Brazil; cultural history; political overview; literature; theater; film; music; gender studies; lecture focusing on the “invention” of the Northeast; lecture focusing on a key state (preferably Pernambuco), figure (Lampião; Antonio Conselheiro; etc.) or genre (cordel literature; etc). Honorarium of $1,000 is preferred.
Professor Albuquerque teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Portuguese language and Brazilian literature and culture. His main area of research is contemporary Brazilian theater. Author of Violent Acts: A Study of Contemporary Latin American Theatre (1991); Tentative Transgressions: Homosexuality, AIDS and the Theater in Brazil (2004); and co-author of the revised edition of Português para principiantes (1993). Professor Albuquerque edited the volume Joaquim Nabuco: Conferências nos Estados Unidos-Nabuco e Wisconsin (2010) and co-edited the critical anthology, Performing Brazil: Essays on Identity, Culture and the Performing Arts (2015). He has also published numerous articles in journals and critical anthologies. He is the Brazilian literature and culture editor of the Luso-Brazilian Review; Brazilian literature (drama) editor for the Handbook of Latin American Studies, Library of Congress; and an editorial board member of the Latin American Theatre Review. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Portuguese Studies Association (2012-2016). Professor Albuquerque served as director of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program from 2002 until 2004 and in 2002 he received a University of Wisconsin’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Professor Albuquerque’s book, Tentative Transgressions has received the 2005 Roberto Reis Award of the Brazilian Studies Association (for best book on Brazil published in English between 2003 and 2005) and the 2008 Elizabeth Steinberg Award for best book published by the University of Wisconsin Press between 2003 and 2008.
Nicholas G. Arons
Partner, Grant, Hermann, Schwartz & Klinger LLP
675 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-5704
(the best way to contact is via email)
TOPIC(S): Oral poetry, history of northeast Brazil, impact of drought on culture of northeast Brazil. Nicholas Arons is the author of a book that describes the impact of drought in Brazil to culture and climate.
Nicholas Arons is a practicing attorney in New York City and author of Waiting for Rain: The Politics and Poetry of Drought in Northeast Brazil, a book that discussing the impact of droughts in Brazil and their relation to climate and culture. Nicholas Arons has worked as a writer for international policy think tanks, at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at public defender legal offices, for civil liberties organizations, and as a non-violence educator.
Barbara Cervenka, O. P.
Co-Director, Con/Vida Popular Arts of the Americas
Originating Co-Curator of Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil
2727 Second Avenue #134
Detroit, MI 48201
TOPIC(S): Any aspect of the exhibition Bandit & Heroes, Poets and Saints: Popular Art of the Americas.
Barbara Cervenka is Professor Emerita of Fine Arts at Siena Heights University, Adrian Michigan. She is an Adrian Dominican Sister and artist. For the past 25 years, she has worked with popular artists in Peru and Brazil, organizing more than 60 exhibitions of their work through Con/Vida—Popular Arts of the Americas, where she is co-director.
Larry Crook, PhD
Center for World Arts
Professor of Music History and Literature
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
TOPIC(S): Music of Brazil specific to the Northeast; various styles of music
Larry Crook (PhD, University of Texas) specializes in ethnomusicology and music history at the University of Florida’s School of Music and teaches a variety of courses in Latin American, Caribbean, and African music as well as specialized seminars in ethnomusicology. At UF he is area head for the Musicology and Ethnomusicology Program in the School of Music and is an affiliate member of Anthropology and the Centers for Latin American and African Studies. A percussionist, he is Director of the UF World Music Ensembles (Jacaré Brazil and Agbedidi Africa) and gives staged and interactive performances regularly. Dr. Crook’s research focuses on Brazilian music, the African Diaspora, music and identity, and popular music. He is author of Brazilian Music: Northeastern Traditions and the Heartbeat of a Modern Nation (2005; 2nd ed, 2009) and co-editor of Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization (1999). He has also published articles and essays of his work in journals, books, and encyclopedias.
Dr. Crook is active in planning, organizing, and producing performance projects featuring artistic residencies with renowned musicians and performing artists from throughout the world who come to the University of Florida to create new work in artistic collaboration with faculty, students and community members. His recent projects have included collaborations with Marco Pereira, Hamilton de Holanda, João do Pife, Carlos Malta and Pife Muderno, Boca and Marcos Mourão, Mohamed DaCosta, Tote Gira, and Jelon Vieira.
Mark J. Curran, PhD
School of International Languages and Cultures
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona 85287
TOPIC(S): Introduction and overview of literatura de cordel; poets of the literatura de cordel; a portrait of Brazil through cordel; Brazilian religion as seen in the cordel (Catholicism, Northeastern Popular Folk religion; Afro-Brazilian); how the cordel describe major political and historical events. Mark Curran’s honorarium ranges between $200-$500 (depending on the program) and travel expenses are required. He is open to presenting two different programs back to back (on a Friday night followed by something for a different audience or featuring a different topic the next day).
Mark Curran taught Spanish and Portuguese languages and their respective cultures at Arizona State University for 43 years. His studies, travel, research and /or teaching have been in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Argentina.
Curran’s research on Brazil’s folk-popular poetry, “literatura de cordel” and its relation to Brazilian erudite literature and history has resulted in fourteen books published in Brazil, Spain and the United States. In retirement Mark has written of growing up on the family farm in Kansas, seven years of study with the Jesuits, and travel-teaching-research in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal and Spain. He is currently working on Volume II of his time in Brazil: It Happened in Brazil— A Chronicle of a North American Researcher in Brazil II.
Mark’s main interest over the years has been Brazil and he has made twenty trips to that country for study, travel and research on both its folk-popular poetry and erudite literature with most time spent in Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. In Adventures of a ‘Gringo’ Researcher in Brazil in the 1960s (2012) Mark recounts day to day living along with the cultural and political moments of those times. In A Portrait of Brazil in the Twentieth Century—the Universe of the “Literatura de Cordel” (2013) he highlights the folk-popular poets and poetry itself. His most recent book in English is Fifty Years of Research on Brazil – A Photographic Journey (2014). He has many stories to tell of work and play in that country.
His most recent cultural presentations during retirement are talks on cordel at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the Brazilian Endowment of the Arts in New York City, an annual series at the Pine River Public Library in Bayfield, Colorado, and as a cultural presenter for Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions on the National Geographic Explorer for the 125th Anniversary Trip “Epic South America” in 2013 and Brazil to Buenos Aires in 2014.
Jerry Dávila, PhD
Director, Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies
201 International Studies Building
Champaign, IL 61820
Lemann Professor of Brazilian History
Department of History
University of Illinois
429 Gregory Hall
Urbana, IL 61801
TOPIC(S): African diaspora; race and ethnicity; history of Brazil; race relations past and present in Brazil. Brazilian social movements. Please contact Professor Dávila to consult about topics and honorarium.
Jerry Dávila is Jorge Paulo Lemann professor of Brazilian History at the University of Illinois. Currently he is Director of the University of Illinois Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies. He serves as President of the Conference on Latin American History, the affiliate of the American Historical Association dedicated to the study of Latin America. Dávila’s research focuses on in the influence of racial thought in public policy, as well as the state and social movements in the twentieth century. He has authored several books including Hotel Trópico: Brazil and the Challenge of African Decolonization (Duke, 2010), winner of the Latin Studies Association Brazil Section Book Prize; and Diploma of Whiteness: Race and Social Policy in Brazil, 1917-1945 (Duke, 2003). In 2000, Dávila taught as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of São Paulo, and in 2005, he held the Fulbright Distinguished chair at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. He has also received the national endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Fulbright-Hays Research Fellowship. He has also written for publications including the New York Times and the Cairo Review about the experiences of military rule and redemocratization in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the subject of his most recent book, Dictatorship in South America (Wiley, 2013).
Jack Draper III, PhD
University of Missouri
Associate Professor of Portuguese
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
University of Missouri
143 Arts & Science Bldg.
Columbia, MO 65211
TOPIC(S): General social and cultural history of Brazil; regional identity of heroes and anti-heroes like the vaqueiro, jagunco (hired gun) cangaceiro (bandit), beato (popular saint), as well as street musicians and poets among others; folklore and popular culture (including music like forró, cantoria, samba reggae, maracatu, coco) and other genres; cordel or string literature; dance, food and traditional religious/secular celebrations such as the June festivals; migration from the region and return migration, especially rural-urban migration and the cultural presence and contributions of Northeasterners in/to economic and political centers like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasília; Afro-Brazilian culture and identity; history of race relations, racial identity and the ideology of racial democracy; regional cinema and artistic representations of the Northeast by natives of the region. Honorarium of $500.
Jack A. Draper III earned his BA in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD in Literature (with emphasis in Brazilian Cultural Studies) from Duke University. Dr. Draper has published a variety of scholarly articles and book chapters related to Brazilian popular music, literature and cinema. His research in Northeastern Brazil of regional identity, migration and popular culture, focusing on the popular roots music called forró, yielded his first book Forró and Redemptive Regionalism from the Brazilian Northeast: Popular Music in a Culture of Migration (Peter Lang, 2010). This work has been recently translated to Portuguese and published in Brazil as Forró e o regionalismo redentor do nordeste brasileiro: Música popular numa cultura de migração (Intermeios, 2014). Professor Draper continues his work in the field of Brazilian Cultural Studies in his current position of Associate Professor of Portuguese at the University of Missouri. His next book, forthcoming with Intellect Books, is entitled Saudade in Brazilian Cinema: The History of an Emotion on Film. This book analyzes the evolution of representations of saudade (nostalgic longing) in Brazilian film from the 1950s to the present day, including nostalgic visions of Northeastern Brazil, especially of its rural backlands or sertão region.
Christopher Dunn, PhD
Spanish and Portuguese
Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies
100 Jones Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118
TOPIC(S): Brazilian literary and cultural studies; popular music; countercultures; and African diaspora studies. Christopher typically receives a $500–1000 honorarium for speaking engagements.
Christopher Dunn received his PhD in Luso-Brazilian Studies from Brown University in 1996, the same year he joined the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University. He holds a joint appointment with the African and African Diaspora Studies Program and is a core member of the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. His research focuses on cultural politics during the period of the dictatorship, national and regional discourse, popular music, race relations, and black culture in Brazil. He is the author of Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture (University of North Carolina Press, 2001). He is co-editor with Charles Perrone of Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization (Routledge, 2001) and co-editor with Idelber Avelar of Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship (Duke UP, 2011).
Débora R. S. Ferreira, PhD
Associate Professor, Languages
Utah Valley University
800 West University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058
TOPIC(S): Backlands of the sertão, retirantes (migrant workers), heroes of the ordinary people of the Northeast, literatura de cordel, race issues and the sun (backland’s monster).
Débora Ferreira is the coordinator of Utah Valley University’s Portuguese Program and the Faculty Advisor for the Brazilian Club. She received her PhD and MA in romance languages from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, and studied linguistics and literature at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil. She teaches all levels of Portuguese language and aspects of Brazilian culture in addition to directing the study abroad program in Brazil.
Timothy Finan, PhD
Professor of Anthropology
Contributor to Project Ceará
University of Arizona
School of Anthropology
1009 East South Campus Drive
Tucson, AZ 85721
TOPIC(S): The sertão; Brazilian backlands climate and culture; people of the backlands.
Dr. Timothy Finan is professor of Anthropology and a research anthropologist with BARA (Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology) at the University of Arizona. He is the primary mentor of the Project Ceará. He started out in the Peace Corps growing tomatoes in a village of subsistence farmers in Northeast Brazil. He came to the University of Arizona and completed a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, then a doctorate with a major in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Agricultural Economics. His dissertation was on the marketing of tomatoes in Ceará, Brazil – where his career began. That “transformative experience” in the Peace Corps led Timothy Finan to the University of Arizona for graduate degrees in anthropology, where he stayed to launch a research and teaching career that has led him to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and back to Brazil.
Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History at Wayne State University
Co-Director, Con/Vida Popular Arts of the Americas
Originating Co-Curator of Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil
2727 Second Ave., Suite 134
Detroit, MI 48201
TOPIC(S): Any aspect of the exhibition Bandit & Heroes, Poets and Saints: Popular Art of the Americas.
Marion (Mame) Jackson is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. She worked for many years with Inuit artists in the Canadian Arctic, curating several exhibitions of their work for Canadian museums and, for the past 25 years, has worked with popular artists in Brazil, bringing their work to the attention of a North American audience through Con/Vida—Popular Arts of the Americas, where she is co-director.
Dr. Lindsay King
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
East Tennessee State University
223 Rogers-Stout Hall
Johnson City, TN 37614
TOPIC(S): ex votos; Landless peasant movement in Brazil, Movimento sem terra (MST);Author of book Spiritual Currency in Northeast Brazil
After working in museums for several years, Lindsey King returned to academia to pursue her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology focusing on material culture. This led to living in a Franciscan monastery for many months and over several years in Canindé, Brazil researching the handmade mimetic offerings of pilgrims who traveled to the shrine of St. Francis of Wounds.
Tia Malkin-Fontecchio, PhD
Assistant Professor of History
Department of History
West Chester University
430 Wayne Hall
West Chester, PA 19383
TOPIC(S): race in Brazil; varied topics related to the culture, people, and history of the Northeast
Dr. Malkin-Fontecchio’s current research focuses on the representation of race in contemporary Brazilian cinema. She received her MA and PhD degrees in Latin American History from Brown University in 1996 and 2003 respectively. As an undergraduate, she spent a semester living in Rio and as a Fullbright Fellow, she conducted research in the Northeast of Brazil.
Donald R. Nelson, PhD
Department of Anthropology
University of Georgia
250A Baldwin Hall, Jackson Street
Athens, GA 306-2-1619
TOPIC(S): Topics can be tailored to each site’s needs. Honorarium is negotiable. Please contact Don to discuss travel arrangements and/or a speaker fee.
Profetas de Chuva (Rain prophets)
In the sertão, adequate and timely rainfall forms the basis for
successful rural livelihoods. Respected local experts, known as rain prophets, are keen observers of nature and translate their observation of natural phenomenon and behavior into seasonal rainfall forecasts. These forecasts not only contribute to agricultural decisions, but also help farmers make sense of the natural world and their place in it.
The environment and drought in particular, play leading roles in the history of northeast Brazil. The semi-arid landscape of the sertão has conditioned society and social relationships, which in turn leave their mark on the landscape. Drought remains a critical contemporary issue and although people have adapted, much of the population remains highly vulnerable to variable rainfall.
Making a living in the sertão
Historically, agriculture is the backbone of the sertão —both economically and culturally. But few people depend entirely on agriculture. Strategies to earn a living include a mix of economic activities such as temporary migration, small business, and public service. Equally important are the social ties that permit access to public and private resources. These ties bind patrons and the rest of the population through a complex web of mutual responsibilities.This patronage system emerged as an adaptation to the harsh landscape and continues to mediate lives and livelihoods in the sertão.
Donald Nelson is an environmental anthropologist who teaches in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia. He has been working in Northeast Brazil since 1997 when he first visited as part of a joint Brazil-USA research group that worked to understand how farmers managed drought risk in the sertão. Since that time he has spent more than five years of his life living in and exploring the rural and urban settings and cultures of this remarkable region. His research focuses on the relationships between human populations and their environments. In particular he works on issues of climate vulnerability, poverty, and how social and political relations shape decision-making and policy outcomes.
His work is published widely in academic and popular presses, both in English and Portuguese. He has presented his research findings to the Ceará State Legislative Assembly, conducted public policy evaluations for Federal programs in the northeast, and was an expert reviewer for the Brazil National Assessment of Climate Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptations published in 2014. He has conducted related work in the Brazilian Amazon, Chile, Mozambique, Comoros, Caribbean, Southwestern US, and the Southern Appalachians.
Assistant Professor of Music
200 Dixon Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118
Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies
Ethnomusicology of Brazil
TOPIC(S): The musical culture of the Northeastern Brazilian backlands; musical culture of Afro-Brazilians in the backlands; Northeastern Brazilian Popular Music Today; The Mission of Folkloric Research (an influential expedition in 1938 led by acclaimed novelist Mário de Andrade that trekked through the Brazilian Northeast recording traditional music); Afro- and Luso-Brazilian vocal improvisation in Northeast Brazil. Daniel Sharp writes about Cordel do Fogo Encantado, embodies these bandits and heroes, poets & saints on stage as part of their performances. He can make lots of connections between the folklore and popular art in the exhibit, and the music and cultural performance of the region.
Daniel Sharp is an associate professor of ethnomusicology at Tulane University, jointly appointed in music and Latin American studies. His book Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse: Popular Music and the Staging of Brazil was published in 2014 on Wesleyan University Press as part of their longstanding Music/Culture series. His articles have appeared in the journals Latin American Music Review and Critical Studies in Improvisation and in the edited volume Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship.
Stuart Schwartz, PhD
George Burton Adams Professor of History
Council on Latin and America and Iberian Studies
Department of History
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8324
TOPIC(S): colonization of Brazil; sugar plantation culture in Brazil; slaves peasants and rebels in Brazil; banditry and Lampião; cordel literature (varied aspects of Northeastern culture of the backlands).
Professor Schwartz, who received his PhD from Columbia in 1968, specializes in the history of colonial Latin America, especially Brazil and on the history of Early Modern expansion. Among his books are Sovereignty and Society in Colonial Brazil (1973), Early Latin America (1983), Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society (1985), Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels (1992), as editor, A Governor and His Image in Baroque Brazil (1979), Implicit Understandings (1994), Victors And Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico (2000), Cambridge History Of Native Peoples Of The Americas. South America (1999), and All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (2008). He is presently working on several projects: a history of independence of Portugal and the crisis of the Iberian Atlantic, 1620-1670; and a social history of Caribbean hurricanes.
School of Music
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1114 W. Nevada Street
Urbana, Illinois, 61801
TOPIC(S): music of the Northeast.
Michael Silvers’ primary research interests include the musical cultures of northeastern Brazil, music and the environment (ethnomusicology), music and technology, musical sustainability, and soundscape studies. His work has been funded by Fulbright-mtvU and the UCLA Latin American Institute, among other granting agencies, and his writing has appeared in Vibrant: Virtual Brazilan Anthropology and the Yearbook for Traditional Music. He is a member of the editorial board of the Ethnomusicology Newsletter and is an assistant editor for the Yearbook for Traditional Music’s “Book News.” He has a PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA (2012), and previously has taught at UCLA and UC Riverside.
List of Performers
Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey
David Morgan (contact)
554 Bloomfield Ave
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
The Afro Percussion ensemble can present a lecture, workshop, performance, or demonstration.The band can perform a concert or a carnival type of street parade; or a folkloric music and dance show featuring samba, capoeira, and other types of dance. Fees for traveling an ensemble might range from $2000 plus travel depending on geographic location and the number of performers engaged. Costs may be lower if there is an ability to work with a local capoeira ensemble. Please contact David Morgan to discuss your needs for a performance at your site.
The Ensemble performs works from Afro-Brazilian Folkloric Dances such as Samba, Maculele, and the Dances of the forces of Nature, known as Orixás in Brazil. It features a performance of Capoeira, an Afro Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music and acrobatics.
All are accompanied by live percussion and traditional instruments making for an exciting and engaging performance. Join us for an experience of Afro Brazilian culture through our promotion of cross-cultural understanding, see something global in an authentic way, and interact with our International Ambassadors, no passport required. Experience the magic of Salvador!
George Carneiro, known professionally as George Palmares, is a Master Capoeirista, Composer, Choreographer, Percussionist, Vocalist and Dancer. He is the Artistic Director of the Afro-Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey, a Montclair based organization with affiliates in New York and Newark.
He has been performing professionally since the age of 15 and since coming to the United States in 2000 he has presented performances and residencies in primary and secondary schools and cultural institutions throughout the United States.
Young Audience of Houston
Andy Nielsen, Programs Manager
4550 Post Oak Place
Houston, TX 77027
“Explore Brazil Through Capoeira” program performed by the Brazilian Arts Foundation is available through Young Audiences Houston. Please reach out to Young Audiences to organize this workshop led by the Brazilian Arts Foundation.
The Brazilian Arts Foundation
1133/1135 E. 11th Street
Houston, TX 77009
Each September, the Brazilian Arts Foundation organizes and hosts the Houston Brazilian Festival. They also offer a wide variety of classes related to Brazilian culture (cooking, capoeira, samba, and Portuguese). Please contact the Brazilian Arts Foundation to inquire about other performances for your site.
Brazil Cultural Center in San Diego
San Diego, CA 92110
Brazil Cultural Center is a San Diego based language tutoring organization that also offers Brazilian Performing Arts. BCC provides tutoring in Portuguese, ensembles of Brazilian Traditional Music and Dances, as well as shows for your event with professional musicians—from Brazil and local great artists.
Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange
1212 N. Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601
The Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange (B.C.A.E.) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and development of Brazilian cultural and performance arts in the Gainesville, FL community. Besides offering regular class programs for children and adults, the B.C.A.E. participates in numerous cultural and international festivals in North Central Florida, and also provides capoeira workshops and educational demonstrations to schools, youth programs, and other local organizations.
Centro Cultural Brasil USA
300 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Centro Cultural Brasil’s mission is to disseminate Brazilian culture and strengthen the ties between Florida and Brazil. CCBU offers Portuguese language classes and Brazilian cultural events: music, dance, films, and lectures.
University of Florida Music Ensemble
Center for World Arts
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117900
Gainesville, Fl 32611-7900
Please contact Dr. Larry Crook for ideas/resources in the region for a Brazilian music performance.
Mike Green & Associates
1224 Saunders Crescent, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Matuto’s songs can sway hips just as easily as spark insights. On stage, instruments (accordion, guitar, bass, drums, cavaquinho, zabumba, and triangle) whirl around the core of Matuto’s sound: the syncopations of Brazilian music and the folk traditions of the American South. The band performs in formats from four to six-pieces, depending on the budget and overall performance situation. They can go with a full electric dance music setup to a completely acoustic format using all traditional Brazilian instruments. Fees will vary, depending on travel costs and the number of performers ($2,000-$6,000) and set up needs. The band will need some backline provided if flying (drum kit, guitar amp, and bass amp). If they are driving from New York, they generally carry that backline equipment with them. Contact Mike Green to discuss and negotiate bringing part of or the full band to your site.
Mitsura Brasileira Samba Dance Company
Saara Burga, Executive Director of the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange
Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange
3313 Julliard Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826
Mistura Brasileira is a Brazilian samba dance company that utilizes Brazilian choreography and outfits. They have an Afro-Brazilian drum line that accompanies the dance company. Please contact them for information about costs for performances and travel etc.
United Capoeria Association
Use this site to locate capoeira groups in your region
VIVER BRASIL, founded in 1997 by Linda Yudin and Luiz Badaró, is deeply rooted in the African heritage of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and embodies the beautiful and mythic stories of Afro-Brazilian culture. A full music ensemble and vivid costuming highlight Viver Brasil’s onstage jubilance, echoing the Directors’ vision of honoring Brazil’s African legacy through bold contemporary dance theater. As a Los Angeles-based dance company, Viver Brasil reflects the vitality of its global home and the artistic excellence and diversity of its company members. Through rigorous research and continuous dialogue with living masters and virtuoso musicians and choreographers in Bahia, Viver Brasil has garnered a reputation as the premier West Coast Brazilian dance organization.
Please refer to the website for booking requests and hosting specifications.
Lesson 1: Geography of Northeast Brazil
Geography of Northeast Brazil: Designing a Diorama
Through researching articles about the caatinga biome, viewing online images and maps of this area, and studying aspects of life in the sertão, featured in Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil exhibition, students will become inspired to recreate a small three-dimensional diorama that reflects geographic aspects of this dry region. The diorama may depict physical features of the land (flora, fauna, or people) and/or the human relationship to and impact on the region. Students will use varied materials to create an image of what they envision this region to look like, to capture a moment in time that illustrates people, place, and the environment using everyday materials to make a small-scale three-dimensional representation.
Download the full lesson, including step-by-step instructions, materials, and connections to Common Core standards.
Lesson 2: Create Your Own Cordel
Create Your Own Cordel: Poetry and Prints
Using a reproduction of an authentic work of literatura de cordel (part of the education outreach kit that accompanies the Bandits and Heroes exhibition) students will read excerpts from a poem translated into English, be able to see and sound out Portuguese words to better understand the poem’s original cadence, and reflect upon the meaning of the poem and what it says about life in Brazil. Students will also evaluate if the illustrated cover of the poem successfully relates its story and if the image would help “sell” the poetry book to a prospective buyer. Each student as part of this activity will write his or her own poem about an admired person, place, or a news event that relates an experience or an opinion that is personal, local, or national. Students will design an image using a simple printmaking technique to decorate a colored paper front and back cover for their poem. Each poem will be printed and published in a four or eight page booklet using a computer, printer, paper, and staples. Students will have the opportunity (if desired by the instructor) to orally perform their work as a classroom activity, a “slam” poetry competition, or as a public performance. The individual cordel books can also be sold to the public if desired.
Download the full lesson, including step-by-step instructions and connections to Common Core standards.
Lesson 3: Not Sweet
Not Sweet: Sugar, Slaves, and the Triangle Trade
Through experiencing Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil, students will learn about the transatlantic slave trade and its relationship to the Northeast of Brazil. Students will also consider the economics and ethics of the early history of the sugar industry and slavery by completing a mathematics worksheet to compute statistics related to the slave trade. Mathematic computations can be used to inform and lead classroom discussion.
Download the full lesson, including step-by-step instructions, a math handout, and connections to Common Core standards.