Book launch: Maria Thereza Alves Recipes for Survival (University of Texas Press, 2019)
Maria Thereza Alves
Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Maria Thereza Alves is an artist known for her life-long engagement with peoples and their specific communities, lands, and colonial histories. Alves has worked and exhibited internationally since the 1980s, creating a vast body of deeply interwoven works in which she investigates the histories and circumstances of particular localities in order to bear witness to silenced histories. All of her projects begin in response to local needs and proceed through a process of dialogue between material and environmental realities and social circumstances. While aware of Western binaries between nature and culture, art and politics, or art and daily life, she deliberately refuses to acknowledge them in her practice. She chooses instead to create spaces of agency and visibility for oppressed cultures through relational practices of collaboration that require constant movement across all of these boundaries.
Recipes for Survival is centered on her father’s community in the backlands of Parana in Brazil. For the first time, through images and texts, the story of those who are excluded from official Brazilian histories is told in their own voices. By asking the people of these communities “What do we want the world to know about us?”, Alves was able to listen to the stories we now have the possibility to see and read on our own. Recipes for Survival was Alves’s very first project. After almost 36 years of searching for a publisher, it is available at last as a substantial source for another history: that of “an us”, we who are not included in the “narrative myths of Western historizations”.
CALL FOR ART - Artists Against Apartheid