- Tarsila do Amaral Capivari, Brazil, 1886 - São Paulo, Brazil, 1973
- Technique:Ink and graphite on paper
- Dimensions:26,8 x 20,8 cm
- Category: Work on paper, Drawing
- Entry date:2003
- Register number:AD03237
Abaporu, which in tupi-guarani means “Man Who Eats Man”, was the first of Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral’s works to reclaim the concept of cannibalism or anthropophagy. The term came from the Manifiesto Antropofágico published in the Revista de Antropofagia in 1928 by Oswaldo de Andrade, poet, critic and husband of the artist, and it referred to the action of devouring foreign influences, carefully digesting them and then turning them into something new. By Andrade’s definition, anthropophagy is transformed into a fundamental concept in Latin American art and thought throughout a great part of the 20th century.
The text was illustrated with a drawing from the series by Tarsila do Amaral, who had taken part that same year in an exhibition at the Galerie Percier in Paris. From that point on, following her time in Paris, her works combined the indigenist trends that explored Brazil’s popular culture with influences from European styles. This led to her being described by Edward Lucie-Smith as “the Brazilian painter who best achieved Brazilian aspirations for nationalistic expression in a modern style.” Her work represents the first step in the definition of an indigenist aesthetic which, despite being in dialogue with Europe, attempted to shape a new model, based on specifically Latin American culture.
Ruth Gallego Fernández