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Talk / Lecture

Symposium: Blackness and the Art of Empowerment in Bahia, Brazil

February 24, 2018 | 10:00AM - 5:00PM

For many worldwide, the Brazilian state of Bahia represents the epicenter of Afro-Brazilian culture. Its capital city, Salvador, has been lauded as a Black Rome (Roma negra) where African-derived traditions have flourished. Nonetheless, residents of African descent (Afrodescendentes) often face institutionalized racism and other forms of inequality. This one-day symposium brings together Bahian arts activists and US-based scholars to examine the ways in which arts practices can serve as potent modes of social critique and cultural resistance. Register at


Symposium Schedule | Click here to view as PDF

Morning Session

9:30 am
Coffee reception in Art Council Amphitheater

10:00 am
Welcome and Introduction
Patrick A. Polk, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts, Fowler Museum at UCLA and co-curator of Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis

10:15 am
Axé: On the White-Hot Tension between Black Racial Empowerment and Religious Hierarchy in Candomblé
J. Lorand Matory, Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University

10:45 am
Candomblé as Artistic Inspiration
Kimberly Cleveland, Associate Professor of Art History, The Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University

11:15 am
Artist Presentation: Thaís Muniz

11:45 am
Respondent: Aleca LeBlanc, Assistant Professor, Department of the History of Art, University of California, Riverside

12:00 pm

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