Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Melanie Marino


Adriana Varejão and Cildo Meireles are internationally acclaimed Brazilian contemporary artists whose works in corporate history and themes dealing with rupture and discontinuity. While their pieces put forward disparate aesthetic qualities, they both reflect on the legacy of Tarsila do Amaral and the Anthropophagite Manifesto, which marked the establishment of modern art in Brazil.

Amaral, Varejão and Meirelesaimto understand their respective contemporary realities by looking back on history. However, over eighty years separate Amaral from Varejão and Meireles. Little research has addressed why contemporary artists are mining early 20th century historical preoccupations, such as Portuguese colonialization in Brazil and cultural hybridity.

By providing a formal analysis and assessing the social significance of a series of works by the artists discussed above, this thesis will investigate what has led Brazilian contemporary artists to revisit Brazil’s historical past in their works. This essay will also assess what are the aesthetics aims these artists put forward and how their narratives vary from each other as well as from early modernist Tarsila do Amaral.