More than carnival: Brazilian couple combine art and jazz in new exhibition

Ana Olivier with one of her untitled artworks Pic: Eleonora Girotto

“This that you see is Brazilian culture.” Ana Olivier told Eastlondonlines. “People think that Brazilian culture is just the carnival. But it’s more complicated than that. Our culture is collective. We receive influence from Africa, India, Portugal, and a little from Holland.”  

Questioning culture, politics, and society through a gritty urban lens, world renowned Brazilian artist Ana Olivier has launched her debut solo exhibition on Portland Road, Croydon.

‘Urban Environment’ at Elizabeth James Gallery, on Portland Road, opened yesterday with an installation that combined her paintings with her husband’s jazz.  

Olivier’s paintings are a mixture of stamping, collaging, stencilling and spray paint. This layered approach helps to reveal the complexity of the elements that make up Brazilian culture. 

Olivier’s painting, untitled, 2019. Pic: Eleonora Girotto

This is the first time that Olivier has created an installation accompanied by music produced by her husband, Renato Gloria. 

Gloria is an established Brazilian musician and has played at the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Switzerland.

“We decided to make this installation together for the first time,” said Olivier. “Because we both love different aspects of art and here today we managed to make them come together.”  

Ana Olivier and her husband Renato Gloria Pic: Eleonora Girotto

The political component in her work emerged when one of the exhibition’s visitors asked her what controversial Brazilian President Bolsonaro would think of the exhibition.

Olivier said: “I make my art charged with information, so I can help change something. It is not a fast change, but through art you can slowly change people’s minds.” 

Olivier lives in Brasilia, where she began her painting studies in 1990. 

She has exhibited in Brazil, New York, Germany, Italy, Austria and Slovakia.  

After this exhibition, Olivier will participate in a group piece in Brazil entitled ‘Contemporary Slave.’ This will be a commentary on people trapped in contemporary issues, such as poverty and discrimination.  

Urban Environment will be running at the Elizabeth James Gallery, Portland Road, Croydon until December 9, 2020.

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