Channing Peake Gallery
Channing Peake Gallery is located in the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. The building features a lobby area for artwork in addition to several feet of running wall space for exhibitions. All exhibitions are FREE and open to the public.
Dreams and Revelations: Afro-Brazilian Art and Identities
January 8 - March 15, 2018
Reception: thursday, february 1st (First thursday)
Dreams and Revelations: Afro-Brazilian Art and Identities represents a selection of work by artist Paulo P. Lima, Ph.D., that investigates the intricate aspects of Afro-Brazilian culture. The material on view represents two areas from the artist’s body of work: photographs and dressed figures.
The photographs in this exhibition, which were primarily taken in São Paulo and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, stemmed from Lima’s dissertation on Afro-Brazilian dress and costumes worn by practitioners of Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion developed in Brazil at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Tey-Marianna Nunn, Museum Director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum, noted that
Candomblé is an essential element of Afro-Brazilian culture: “Candomblé originated in São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, more commonly known as Bahia. Bahia’s strong African influence makes it a national center of Afro-Brazilian culture…. Candomblé practitioners believe in two essential parallel existences: Ile Orun (spiritual dimension) and Ile Aye (mundane dimension). Both are populated by natural forces and the Orixás [divine spirits].”
These photographs—which capture images of both religious and secular performances—illustrate the importance of Candomblé religious dress for the various celebrations of faith within the religion and its influence on fashion and secular performance. Lima’s aim was to “register a multitude of identities, unfinished and historically specific, that could tell a story.” This exhibition also includes a selection of Lima’s recent photographs of Santos.
The dressed figures in Dreams and Revelations: Afro-Brazilian Art and Identities are contemporary interpretations of Santos de Roca or Santos de Vestir. Lima was inspired by the Brazilian Baroque tradition of dressing articulated religious figures of saints, which was prevalent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and in many places today. Santos are lavishly dressed to be carried in processions and displayed. This practice is still common in countries such as Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and the Philippines. These figures—which demonstrate Lima’s interest in dressing vintage reproductions of iconic images in a contemporary and more secular style—are meticulously outfitted with handcrafted felts and hand-dyed silks as well as everyday materials such as paper, dried leaves, leather, wool, found jewelry, and plastic.
About the Artist
Lima began designing costumes in 1986 after receiving a fashion design certificate from Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Comercial in São Paulo, Brazil. Upon completing his coursework, Lima went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of São Paulo. Lima emigrated to the United States, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Technical Theater and Costume Design from California State University - Long Beach. Lima earned a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of California - Los Angeles. Lima is currently a professor at Loyola Marymount University and has served as a visiting professor at Santa Barbara City College.
This exhibition was produced in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, and County of Santa Barbara Community Services Department.