During the dictatorship period between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, Brazil saw four different military men in power continuously repressing freedom, democracy and self-expression, which naturally affected all aspects of life. Art was only one of them. The three organizers of Samba in the Dark take a group of drawings by Sérgio Sister, a São Paulo-born artist arrested in 1970 for protesting the military regime, as a foundation for the show. While incarcerated, Sister was tortured, which was later reflected in his series of paintings, which according to the exhibition’s organizers, “take on an unsettling urgency today as the tentacles of the old military regime are threatening contemporary society again.”
“Despite various attempts to deter them, artists in Brazil have long stood up against dictatorship, authoritarianism and censorship, and have fought for a civil and just society for many generations”, affirm the three organizers. “In this spirit, the twenty-four contemporary artists in Samba in the Dark channel the energy of widespread activism that continues to thrive in Brazil”, they continue. Spanning several decades and encompassing a wide variety of materials, the pieces by Marcius Galan, Yuli Yamagata, Clarissa Tossin, assume vivid astro focus, Leonora de Barros, Marepe, Arjan Martins or Cao Guimarães, among others, reflect on themes like freedom, oppression, identity, and the future.