Caroline “Olivia” Wolf: Immigration and Identity in Contemporary Brazilian Art and Architecture

Brasilidade Unbound: Immigration and Identity in Contemporary Brazilian Art and Architecture

Anas Rjab “The Damascene Poem,” from “Tradução Provisória,” Museu do Amanhã, curated by Felippe Moraes, 2016. Photograph by Hans George.

Interested in migration and artistic production in Latin America, Caroline Wolf is currently exploring the role of refugee artists in visual culture and national identity in Brazil. Titled, “Replenishing Brasilidade: Migration and Identity in Contemporary Brazilian Visual Culture,” her project examines the visual and spatial production of new migrant communities settling in the nation. She is particularly interested in artwork by Syrian refugees entering the country nearly a century after Brazil received its first wave of Arab-speaking immigrants. Artists Ana Rjab and Ali Abdullah provide key references, featured in the “Horizontes Possíveis – Arte como Refúgio [Possible Horizons– Art as Refuge]” show at the Museu do Amanhã [Museum of Tomorrow] as well as the “Tradução Provisória [Provisional translation]” exhibit that took place in Rio. These shows highlighted refugee artists from three distinct regions­—Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Columbia—with a focus on both intra- and extra-continental migration. What visual strategies and aesthetics are employed by migrant artists to represent themselves to– or as part of– the larger Brazilian nation? Wolf hopes to show how historical and contemporary discourses surrounding migration are problematized and reconfigured by refugee artists while reshaping visual culture and the urban fabric.

Caroline Wolf’s research focuses on issues of identity in the art and architecture of Latin America through the lens of migration. She is currently an Instructor of Latin American Visual Cultures at New York University’s Buenos Aires Global program (NYU BA) and a PhD candidate at Rice University. Her research examines the art and architectural patronage of Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian immigrant communities in Argentina and Brazil as a response to nationalist discourses. Caroline Wolf is currently developing research on refugee artists arriving in Brazil within a contemporary context, titled “Replenishing Brasilidade: Migration and Identity in Contemporary Brazilian Visual Culture.” She was the 2013-2014 Camfield fellow in the Latin American department of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She received a 2013 SAHARA award, a 2014 Brown Foundation Research Award, and a Fulbright Hayes DDRA fellowship from 2015 to 2016, hosted by the Universidad Nacional San Martín. She received her Master’s from Indiana University and her BFA from the University of Notre Dame.


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