CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


TURAZZI, Maria Inez
Favelas in Rio de Janeiro: new approaches to a singular landscape

Session 11 Landscape and Spectacle

University of São Paulo


Favela is a Brazilian word for a sort of urban settlementspread around the world as slums, but it is also a ‘term’ for a particular landscape representation. For centuries, widely circulatedvisual images promotedRio de Janeiro’s landscape as a monumental combination of city and nature. These narratives evoked feelings and attitudes towards Brazilian nature and attributed meanings and values to the city, as to those who headed political, economic, and environmental changes in the former capital of the country. The favelasthat cropped up in the late 19th century became soon a social and an aesthetic problem to the so called “marvelous city”, connoting squalid, overcrowded and chaotic urban squatters. The paper examines photographs and paintings that reinforced these labels along the 20th century, but also other cultural values that emerged from this complex reality. In recent years, as photography changed into an affordable practice for those who live in the favelas, digital photographers and visual artists are transforming their surroundings into new compositional challenges for viewing landscapes and other art works. Exploring technical and aesthetic possibilities, they are combining traditional references of landscape representation with their own explorations on the field, in order to create a personal framing for these urban imaginaries.

TURAZZI, Maria Inez

Maria Inez Turazzi is a Brazilian historian who lives in Rio de Janeiro. Ph.D. in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo (USP), she is an associated researcher at the Department of History and at Laboratory of Oral History and Image at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), and a fellowship researcher and ad-hoc consultant for the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq). She is also an associated member of the Brazilian Committee of History of Art and the International Council of Museums / Brazil.  Focussing her career on the preservation, study and promotion of photography and other visual arts, she worked from 1984 to 2014 as a researcher and curator at the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage and at the Brazilian Institute of Museums. She also worked as a visiting researcher at the Carnavalet Museum’s Department of Photography (Paris, 2001) and as a fellowship researcher at the Sciences College and at the Centre of Scientific Philosophy of the Lisbon University (2012). She has published several articles and books on photography, cultural heritage and the city of Rio de Janeiro, many of them in Portuguese and English editions.