My Brazil – Travel copy- Intro written for artist, Wayne Forte featured in his 1999 art catalog


My Brazil

An excerpt from my essay on Brazil written for well-known artist, Wayne Forte.

This essay, which he hired me to ghostwrite, was featured in the artist’s 1999 art

Brazil, I soon discovered, was a country of abundant contradictions and paradoxes. It seemed to suffer from a national mood disorder. On any given day, its collective soul would cycle from exhilaration to despair as rapidly as the Brazilian sky would change its hue. At one moment, it would be intensely luminous; the next instant, dull and dark. It was this constant state of flux, moving from dark to light, from sensuality to religious piety, coupled with its abundant, deep green foliage and crayon-colored houses that made Brazil so paintable. On some days, it seemed as though my brush took on a life of its own, unfolding a kind of sensual enchantment in a world ruled, as one Brazilian writer penned, “by coincidence and laughter, an encounter with sublime instinctual forces far older than the New World.”

For weeks at a time, my wife Valeria and I traveled the length and depth of Brazil. We journeyed between the mountains and cities—from the wild, uninhabited heart of the Amazon jungle to the towering high rises of Sao Paulo, the “Chicago” of South America. The stately, centuries-old vernacular baroque churches enthralled me. Their flattened façades, lavishly framed by the verdant jungle flora and set against an intemperate sky, made them appear otherworldly. To me, they seemed more like the backdrops to an ongoing passion play than the aging sepulchers of their European baroque predecessors. Wherever I went in this mystical country, I felt a constant tension between the jungle and the city, between Brazil’s primal dreams and modern-day reality.

It was in the state of Minas Gerais where I would make my own spiritual connection to Brazil. There, in the little town of Ouro Preto, I discovered the art of Aleijadinho, “the little cripple” who was born to a Portuguese mason and a black slave woman sometime around 1730. As a young man, Michelangelo was struck with leprosy. Amazingly, this did not weaken his faith; he knew “God wanted me to sculpt.” When the horrible affliction claimed his toes and the use of his right leg, Aleijadinho demanded to be wheeled on a wooden trolley into the churches where he would work tirelessly throughout the night. When it took his fingers, he had his tools strapped to his wrists. It is impossible to describe the effect that his sculptures had on me. I was not alone; most who gaze upon the face of Aleijadinho’s Christ are left breathless by its overwhelming grace, realism and power, its melding of the human with the divine. This too, I discovered, was Brazil.

In August of 1998, now with four children, my wife and I returned to Brazil from California and spent a year in Campos de Jordao, a small resort town in the pine-covered mountains that lay between Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. We lived in a 100-year-old house surrounded by pear and chestnut trees.

Most of the work depicted in this catalog was done in that locale.

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About seekandfind

I'm a strategic storyteller/copywriter who is divinely wired to be idea-driven, strategic minded & cause motivated.

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