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Tupinaquim o Tupinãodá?: Rethinking Street Art in Brazil

  • K-3.11, Strand Campus Strand London, England United Kingdom (map)

The Brazil Institute invites you to a lecture by Dr. Holly Eva Ryan, a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. 


As Manco, Lost Art and Neelon claim in the Preface to their 2005 book, Brazil ‘boasts a unique and particularly rich graffiti scene, which in recent years has earned it an international reputation as the place to go for artistic inspiration’. In 2014, the Huffington Post released its 26 Best Cities In The World To See Street Art, with São Paulo ranking in at no. 2. The international popularity and appeal of Brazilian street art has led to a surge in the publication of books, art-zines and even street art tours. However, many of these sources somewhat reductively link the birth of Brazilian street art to the import of North American hip-hop subculture during the 1980s. Whilst it is true that the production of street art, and particularly the distinctive graphite style, accelerated at an unprecedented pace from the mid-1980s, popular narratives tend to neglect much of the history and politics surrounding the evolution of Brazilian street art. In this presentation, Dr Ryan presents material from her forthcoming book ‘Political Street Art: Communication, culture and resistance in Latin America’ which endeavours address this issue. In particular, she recounts the genesis and evolution of Grupo Tupinãodá, São Paulo’s first documented street art collective, situating the group as part of an as yet understudied ‘first generation’ of graffiteiros who emerged in the authoritarian period and used their art to intervene in a context marred by the circumscription of political rights and freedoms, repressive police practices and the inadequate, even arbitrary application of the rule of law.



Dr. Holly Eva Ryan is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Manchester Metropolitan University. Holly’s work is situated at the intersections of social movement studies, visual and international politics. She has written on topics including: street art and resistance in Latin America; collective memory and democracy in Brazil; and, the role of ‘radio popular’ in reframing and contesting indigenous identities in Bolivia. She is presently writing a book about political street art in Latin America.

Holly has previously held teaching and lecturing positions at King's College London, City University London and Aston University. During her PhD study she spent six months working in Brunei Darussalam as an ERASMUS Mundus Doctoral Fellow. Holly maintains an Honorary Visiting Research Fellowship at City University London, where she completed her undergraduate and doctoral training. She is a current co-convener of the PSA/BISA Art and Politics Specialist Group.

This talk, part of the King's Brazil Institute Research Seminar Series, will be followed by a Q&A and wine.