The Global Art Project

Dulcinéia Catadora book project and workshops for The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling is a thematic exhibition that features international contemporary artists whose work is inspired by literature and poetry. Curated by Selene Wendt specifically for Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC) Niterói in Brazil, the exhibition takes place June 16 - July 24, 2016. 

To reflect the importance of the societal dimension of the exhibition project Selene Wendt developed a special book project and series of workshops in collaboration with Lúcia Rosa of the Dulcinéia Catadora collective.  During the workshops we produced 500 one-of-a-kind cardboard covers for The Art of Storytelling exhibition catalog/book. More specifically, youth from the neighboring Morro do Palacio favela, as well as catadores and students from local schools, were directly engaged in the actual outcome of the book to the extent that it reflects their dreams, aspirations, stories and ideas. The book also features information about the exhibition as well as documentation of various aspects of the workshops, in addition to short stories and poems by Paulo Scott, Sergio Sant’Anna and Fabio Morais. 

The creative  process involved engaging the youth to paint the covers cut from cardboard boxes both freehand and with the aid of stencils. The handmade process means that each cover is a unique cover created out of recycled cardboard boxes. Exposing the youth to literature is an essential aspect of the workshops, and each workshop began with Lúcia Rosa reading a poem and a short story. Additional writers and artists were also invited to meet with and inspire the participating youth. Invited guests included Magne Furholmen and Rosana Ricalde, who are also participating artists in the exhibition, as well as Paulo Scott.  

Dulcinéia Catadora’s work in general is driven by clearly defined ideals. They provide a platform for artistic and literary expression for individuals whose voices would otherwise not be heard and for the underprivileged of society, which is why Dulcinéia Catadora also pays workers of the recycling cooperative (catadores) who are members of the Dulcinéia Catadora collective for the books that they make. With The Art of Storytelling book project, both the youth and the catadores who were involved were directly compensated for their time and participation.

What makes The Art of Storytelling book project so special is that it provided a unique opportunity to empower underprivileged youth within the context of an important international exhibition at an established Brazilian museum. By bringing the youth into the project at an early stage, with art and literature as our tools, we sought to empower the youth and ensure that their voices were heard in terms of the hand-painted covers, the actual content of the publication, and also in relation to a collective work that will become an important and vital part of the exhibition itself.

Our goal is that the successful completion of this project will plant the seed for similar community projects. As such, the project signals the first stage of a long-term vision to revitalize the entire community surrounding Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Niterói.  This will include collaborations with nearby institutions such as Museu Janete Costa de Arte Popular and Solar do Jambeiro, the revitalization of the neighboring Ilha de Boa Viagem to restore it to a cultural gathering place, and an overall increase in socially engaged initiatives that will create a lasting and meaningful dialogue between the local community and Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Niterói. Ultimately, the impact and societal benefits of The Art of Storytelling book project will continue to resonate beyond the timeframe of the workshops and exhibition to benefit everyone involved.

Participating artists in the exhibition:

Gilvan Barreto, Dulcinéia Catadora, Marilá  Dardot, Magne Furuholmen, Lobato & Guimaraes, William Kentridge, Cristina Lucas, Fabio Morais, Ernesto Neto, Ulf Nilsen, Andre Parente, Rodrigo Petrella, Rosana Ricalde, Eder Santos, Elida Tessler, Sergio Bernardes/Guilherme Vaz and Nina Yuen.  

Here is the film about the project: