The Museu Afro Brasil (MAB), in São Paulo, received a new plaque with the name honoring the sculptor Emanoel Araujo, founder and director-curator of the cultural equipment, located in Ibirapuera Park. Araujo died at the age of 81, on September 7.
This Tuesday (27), the government of São Paulo handed over the first phase of the restoration, renovation and modernization works on the building that integrates the park’s architectural complex, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. The MAB is located at Pavilhão Padre Manoel da Nóbrega.
So far, 70% of the work has been completed. The rest should be finished in March 2023.
“It is an investment of BRL 20 million by the government of São Paulo to renovate, modernize and expand the Afro Brasil Museum, which is one of the most important in the world. It has a collection of more than 9,000 African, Afro-Brazilian and Brazilian works of art, related to our heritage, our African roots”, pointed out, at the time, the State Secretary for Culture and Creative Economy, Sérgio Sá Leitão.
The new name Museu Afro Brasil Emanoel Araujo was published by state decree on November 24th.
A petition, spearheaded by Associação Museu Afro Brasil, a social cultural organization that manages the equipment, mobilized civil society to support the change.
On November 5, after being closed for 12 days, the museum was reopened with the Tribute to Emanoel Araújo, in which works by the artist are on display, in addition to a portrait made by photographer Fernando Azevedo and phrases about his life, work and work.
The work on the Pavilhão Padre Manoel da Nóbrega includes the reconfiguration of the layout of the technical areas located on the ground floor, the expansion of the technical reserve, new transit and quarantine rooms for the works, in addition to new areas for carpentry, assembly, electrical and a new and expanded warehouse. Bathrooms have been renovated and are fully accessible.
Changes were also made for accessibility at Teatro Ruth de Souza, which received access ramps to the stage, new dressing rooms, common areas and administrative areas.
The installation of the panoramic elevators that will give access to the pavilion’s upper and lower floors is pending, which should be carried out in January. The exterior, including the roof, will be completed by March 2023.
The plastic artist and sculptor Emanoel Araujo was born in Santo Amaro, Bahia, in 1940, into a traditional family of goldsmiths. He learned carpentry, linotype and studied graphic composition at the Official Press of his city, where he also held, in 1959, his first individual exhibition. In the 1960s he moved to Salvador and entered the Bahia School of Fine Arts (UFBA), where he studied printmaking.
According to the MAB website, Araujo has exhibited in several national and international galleries and exhibitions, totaling around 50 individual exhibitions and more than 150 collective ones. In the 1980s, he was director of the Museu de Arte da Bahia and taught, in 1988, graphic arts and sculpture at the Arts College, The City University of New York. Between 1992 and 2002 he was director of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo.
In 2004, he founded the Museu Afro Brasil, in São Paulo, of which he was director-curator until his death. During his tenure at MAB, the exhibition “Africa Africans”, which he curated, was awarded as the best exhibition of 2015 by the Brazilian Association of Art Critics (ABCA). As an independent curator, the exhibition “Francisco Brennand Senhor da Várzea, da Argila e do Fogo” received the Paulo Mendes de Almeida award, as the best exhibition in Brazil in 2017.