Brazil’s ‘queer museum’ set to reopen

Making a comeback: People at the ‘Queermuseu’ exhibition at Parque Lage park in Rio de Janeiro.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Brazil’s “queer museum,” forced to close last year after conservatives attacked it for allegedly promoting paedophilia, blasphemy and bestiality, is reopening in the shadow of Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.

The Queermuseu, which features 200 works by 82 Brazilian artists, originally opened last year in the southern city of Porto Alegre but was forced to close by critics who accused it of attacking Christianity.

The enforced closure sent shockwaves through the artistic community and triggered debate about freedom of expression and a return of censorship, three decades after the end of the military dictatorship that ran the Latin American country from 1964-85.

A crowdfunding campaign raised $2,75,000 allowing it to reopen for a month, with free admission, at the School for Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro’s Parque Lage — a wooded parkland at the foot of the mountain topped by the renowned statue of Christ.

The series of fundraising events included a concert by the legendary musician Caetano Veloso. The curators picked the venue in the park after the city’s Evangelical mayor, Marcelo Crivella, banned the use of Rio’s Arts Museum for the show. “It is a very important moment for Brazilian democracy, a convincing demonstration that the most progressive sectors of society will not accept censorship,” said curator Gaudencio Fidelis.

Portrayal of Jesus

“We haven’t seen an act of censorship of this size and severity since the dictatorship,” he said.

In addition, the exhibition features talks on sexual diversity and LGBT rights as well as musical shows by “queer” performers.

The exhibition is almost identical to the one forced to close in Porto Alegre, featuring the same provocative works that scandalised Brazilian conservatives.

They include a portrayal of Jesus as a monkey in the arms of the Virgin Mary, works illustrating sexual practices in the style of traditional Japanese erotic prints and paintings of clothed kids entitled “Gay Children.”

The Free Brazil Movement, which spearheaded the boycott in Porto Alegre, has said it will remain quiet, since this time the exhibition is privately funded and not using public money to “sexualise children.”

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 12:20:38 PM |

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