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Cambuí 1, 2, 3  demonstrates how change is recorded by the town's artists over the course of its 123 year history; it creates a platform for continuing debate about the importance of heritage and preservation in Brazil. 

 

Cornélio Lambert, musician and photographer documented Cambuí from 1910 to 1950 using a box camera and tripod. He photographed ordinary people; the setting for their lives and the subjects of their celebration. Cornélio Lambert is the pioneer. His gaze over the town is quiet and purposeful; when a perplexed community questioned the value of his work he simply told them it was for people in the future; a deeply religious community did not understand one who did not fit with any model they understood; clearly evident in a number of the photographs he made. A lifetime of work was discovered many years after his death by Lambert's grandchildren, hidden between two walls of his house; we know only a fraction of this work however  as the current guardian is unwilling so far to share, not even with other members of his immediate family. Attempts have been made to legally wrestle the work back but to date none have been successful.

Maria Aparecida Oliveira exhibited work at the São Paulo biennale in 2006 and is one of Cambuí's most prolific artists over the past two decades. Much of her work concentrates on the remembered houses of her childhood during the1940s, using old photographs and imagination to preserve a world in steep decline. In June 2014 Maria Aparecida Oliveira was invited to exhibit her painting at 397 Galeria. Widely circulated advertising material, bore the image of a recently demolished town house; inesquecível morada or unforgettable house was a thoughtfully staged protest against wanton destruction.

 

Benedito Antonio Oliveira, one of the town's favourite sons; universally known as 'Canário' due to the yellow hair of his youth, painted Cambuí throughout the 1970s and 1980s when it was still relatively small; no high-rise during that period, the church was absolute reference point.

 

Ricardo da Silva's portraits and landscapes record, the beginnings of rapid change during the 1990s when many large colonial style family residencies were replaced by the highrise which now

dominate.

protest flyer; paintings by Maria Aparecida Oliveira, 'inesquecível morada' or unforgettable house, curated by Marcia Louzada, 2014

Tota Morais, post modernist, grandson of Cornélio Lambert continues the townscape tradition with geometric

plains of bright colour; framing individual buildings and binding each to the next, as a reminder, perhaps a warning to those who ignore the strength of this community and seek to disregard its traditions for selfish personal gain.

film footage: Cambui 1,2,3

amo esta canção! (Cambui 1,2,3) 2015

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Other than 397 Galeria, which opened in 2013, people in Cambuí do not easily access art galleries or museums, non-formal education spaces so key for learning outside the school walls; São Paulo is one hundred miles away. The exhibition Cambuí 123, is in part, a curriculum of dynamic and ludic learning; it is designed to integrate workshop activities and art history classes with lessons about visual language and the reading of art works.

 

Lessons are comprised of pedagogical activitiy developed in the classroom, which introduce students to their artistical and heritage culture; a platform for personal narratives and memories. In addition, children are introduced to established national and international artists providing them a context in which to think and make. The workshops in schools began before students visited the art exhibition Cambuí123, commemorating the 123 years since the town was founded; it demonstrates Cambuí throughout its history, in painting, photography and film. The under-pinning methodology involves deconstruction of artistic practices, the historical context and history of art, as well as the methodology of the Heritage Education and Environmental Studies (IPHAN). 

The workshops in schools were divided into two parts, with the themes:1. Who am I? Exercises inspire discovery where students explore their identity through the making of self-portraits; 2. How is the place where I live? Students were encouraged to reflect on their affective spaces, to employ memory, stories, places and their relationships with the world around them. Introduction of cultural concepts of identity, memory and heritage. The workshop aimed to create opportunities for students self-reflect and to reflect upon the world around them, to understand their culture and extend this learning to other times and places. The selected national and international artists and works were those that expressed a strong emotional relationship with their homeland, as well as artists who portrayed themselves.

An experienced visitor to a gallery will seek out works and connect different elements in them in order to understand what is being communicated. To be certain children were actively ‘looking’ at works, a game was devised whereby children were provided photocopies containing architectural details for example and were asked to seek out those details by engaging with all art works in a particular area.

 

It became clear during feedback sessions with teachers and head teachers, in the gallery and back at the various schools, that children in many cases, were able to describe how the town-scape modified between different images and therefore understand ways their town had developed over time; this in turn prompted questioning about the present. A discourse could then be opened along lines of preservation and the role of history in defining who and where we are.

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Exploratory sculpture workshop; ABSTRACT HOUSE and the Heritage Department at 397 Galeria, Cambui 2015.

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This is who I am!

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This is where I live

Left to right: Berta Jaque Rosa (Art Educator), Anselmo Evangelista (Museum Assistant), Marcia Louzada (Director ABSTRACT HOUSE), Diefferson Helson (Head of Heritage Committee, Cambuí), Tota Morais, (artist and Director 397 Galeria).

Left to right: Berta Jaque Rosa (Art Educator), Anselmo Evangelista (Museum Assistant), Marcia Louzada (Director ABSTRACT HOUSE), Diefferson Helson (Head of Heritage Committee, Cambuí), Tota Morais, (artist and Director 397 Galeria).