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Brazilian Art Exhibit

Dates: August 26, 2011 - September 20, 2011

Location:   Main Library

Contact: Ping Situ


The Brazilian Art Exhibit will be composed of articrafts and gemstones from the Jequitinhonha Valley – a region located in the northeast of the State of Minas Gerais. With an estimated population of over 694,120 habitants (a density of 13.8 hab./km2), it is considered one of the poorest regions in Brazil.  Most of the soil is arid and is periodically affected by drought or floods. Around 75% of its population lives in rural areas, practicing rudimentary agriculture and livestock.

In spite of the adversities, the region is known for its creative crafts in ceramics, weaving, basketry, wood carving, leather work, embroidery, drawing, and music. The techniques have been passed down from generation to generation. Initially the pieces served utilitarian purpose but over time the artisans started to produce decorative pieces. By selling their handcrafted goods, the artisans do not need to work in the rural areas and can better provide for their families. It also helps them create a sense of identity and pride.

The Jequitinhonha Valley, however, is also marked by the presence of areas of fertile land. This region is well-known by the production of cachaça (a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane).  Although at first cachaça was produced almost exclusively for slaves, sailors, and lower classes, nowadays cachaça became a symbol of Brazilin identity. The most prominent cachaça-making region is the city of Salinas where it is produced Havana – the most expensive brand of cachaça in Brazil.

A public talk with Professor Antonio Ferreira Ávila will be held on Friday, Sept. 2 from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. in the Main lihbrary, next to the exhibit cases.