Symposium: Blackness and the Art of Empowerment in Bahia, Brazil
Talk / Lecture
10:00 to 5:00
Sat, February 24, 2018

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

12:15 pm
Lunch Break

1:00 pm
Turbante-se Workshop with Thaís Muniz in the Art Council Amphitheater

Afternoon Session

2:00 pm
Black Bodies in the Streets: Urban Portraits in Salvador’s Tourist Guides of the 1950s-60s
Anadelia Romo, Associate Professor, Department of History, Texas State University

2:30 pm
Artist Presentation: Àlex Ìgbó

3:00 pm
Artist Presentation: Tiago Sant’Ana

3:30 pm
Respondent: Elena Shtromberg, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Art History, University of Utah

3:45 pm

4:00-5:00 pm
Celebrate the publication of the Axé Bahia exhibition catalogue with a book signing and reception in the Art Council Amphitheater.

Axé Bahia exhibition catalogue

Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 398 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd | $12/day


Header image: Gorda Flor (Full Bloom), Helen Salomão, 2016


About the Exhibition

Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis, explores the distinctive cultural role of the city of Salvador, the coastal capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia and an internationally renowned center of Afro-Brazilian culture. Featuring more than 100 works from the mid-20th century to the present, including a stunning array of sculpture, painting, photography, video, and installation art, the exhibition explores the complexities of race and cultural affiliation in Brazil, and the provoca­tive ways in which artists have experienced and responded creatively to prevailing realities of Afro-Brazilian identity in Bahia.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California, from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Additional support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Public programs and educational outreach activities are made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Travel support is provided in part by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate General in Los Angeles.