Art in Brazil:
a tropical concept

The Art of Rono Figueiredo (25K)Tracing a panorama on Brazilian art today imposes a great responsibility for whom makes it. It would not be fair to say which are the top 10 artists in such a promising scenario, in one of the most influential nation in visual arts. However it is possible to perceive that a "change of concepts" has opened the doors of museums, gallery, and mainly homes, for what is being produced today in the country. The spectator and the art critic today, try to see through the eyes of the artist and not only what there is on the canvas (support).

Not far ago the cultural market demonstrated a great esteem for the "conceptual art" and now we see that this is not totally true anymore. Brazilian artists, in their majority, continue rescuing elements from their individual and collective experiences, however in a more subjective way, trying all the possibilities of visual languages. Brazilian art is modern and creative, without escaping from its affective and cultural memory. It builds up a reality searching in its past the references to do so. Therefore, almost always, in an original contemporary work of art, it is observed the presence of regional elements but in a more implicit way.

Art in Brazil is a struggling exercise. In a country where there are many social problems, the culture consumption is still very limited. But this is changing little by little with the growing of contemporary productions and with the position of a new generation of artists who seem less worried about the media, critics of art and technical opinions. It is clear that they want to survive from what they produce, but what is observed is a bigger desire for the popular recognition. Reaching, touching each time more people who understand their poetic, feelings and language... So the consumption can become then, only a consequence of this understanding.

With this profile we find a new harvest of artists from the northeast of the country, such as Romero Britto, Rono Figueiredo and Menelau Sete, the two last ones born in Bahia a well known state in the entire world for its natural and cultural wealth, the tropical coloring of its beaches and the carnival with its own musical identity. Therefore in visual arts the artists from Bahia follow the trend of these vibrations, each one with its particular references and proper language.

The Art of Rono Figueiredo (19K)In this scenario we can point out the young artist Rono Figueiredo who, as well as Menelau Sete and Romero Britto - already famous in New York, starts to conquer the Americans through the magnetism of his art. Rono gathers all the elements that fit the current panorama and calls attention for the originality of his clean, linear, and firm trace, full of personality. He has what we can call "unmistakable identity". It is like seeing a painting of Pablo Picasso without his signature and say: it is a Picasso!

The art of Rono is fun, full of joy and at the same time introspective. The mystery is always present in the look of his stylized women. Either in the series "Africa" or " The Faces of Maria" - heading of his first individual exhibition which can be seen at the Art gallery of Theatro XVIII in Pelourinho, a very respected cultural space of the capital city, Salvador Bahia.

In The Faces of Maria Rono uses vibrant colors that seem to burst out of the painting, a very strong characteristic in his work. His drawings are simple but very expressive, they remind us the art of the cartoons. In this series the artist represents women from his hometown in daily activities and by doing so he recreates the reality around him. In the painting Abaeté which is displayed in gallery N. 22, in London Rono shows a typical lavadeira of the famous lagoon, one of the most visited tourist attraction in the city.

I try to portray different races through female figure in common everyday situations valuing their forms and curves. The name Maria was chosen because it is a very common name in Brazil, so it would be a way to create an identity between the women and the characters represented in my art , Rono Figueiredo said on the reason of this homage.

The Art of Rono Figueiredo (19K)In the series "Africa", he investigates the roots of this rich culture but he breaks the boundaries through a singular language. He is not worried about the "speech" on conceptual art but with the communication with the public through the expression of his poetic, and he does it beautifully through experimenting new textures with paper and wax.

This series suffers a lot influence from the African culture, with its symbolisms, beliefs and costumes. It would be impossible to be immune to such a rich and present culture in my hometown. The result of this work comes from research and personal experience in this city full of cultural manifestations complements the artist.

In the two series we can notice the influence of other artists in the art of Rono, for instance the colors of Frida Khalo and the drawing of Modigliani. But they are just references. The personality of this artist is already so strong that a good observer could identify his painting without his signature "this is a Rono Figueiredo".

Adelyne Lacerda
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