Read from the collective’s savvy stream featuring a wide variety of subjects ranging from Latin American talent, history, recondite references or just keeping up with the collective’s latest chisme.

Tropicalismo, Hélio Oiticica, and Exile

Tropicalismo, also known as Tropicália, was one of the most significant artistic and cultural movements of Brazil that originated in the late 60s, revolutionising the expression of Brazilian cultures and aesthetics in art and music while merging different national styles together, as well as incorporating foreign influences. The movement existed against the backdrop of Brazil’s newly instated military dictatorship, a regime which was supported by the US government that sought to suppress leftists politics, and which was to serve as a model for a number of violent dictatorships all across South America.

1. Installation view, Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture, MCA Chicago, Oct 22, 2005–Jan 8, 2006. Photo: Michal Raz-Russo, © MCA Chicago 2. Tropicalia ou Panis Et Circencis, collaborative album including Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Tom Zé, and Gal Costa, 1968. 3. Caetano Veloso (left) and Gilberto Gil (right).

One of the most well known pieces of work from the movement is the song Tropicália by Caetano Veloso (b. 1942) - inspired by the installation work of the same name by Hélio Oiticica (1937 - 1980) in Rio de Janeiro in 1967. The video below by the Tate shows a short retrospective of Oiticica, known internationally for his performative environments which invited the audience to inhabit the space, interacting with his work freely. His art would also question the authenticity of the foreign representation of Brazil as a “tropical paradise”.

The music of Tropicália would often use metaphors and seemingly nonsensical lyrics to undermine the censorship of the military regime, putting across messages of innovation and autonomy of thought. The movement came to an end as Caetano Veloso and friend and collaborator Gilberto Gil (b. 1942) were imprisoned and exiled - accused of disrespecting the Brazilian flag in a concert with the group Os Mutantes, where they displayed a work by Oiticica that read “Seja Marginal, Seja Herói” (Be an Outlaw, Be a Hero). The work depicted an anti-hero image of a well-known drug trafficker of the time that was violently murdered by the police. Veloso and Gil were exiled to London for three years.

Hélio Oiticica, Seja Marginal Seja Herói (Be an Outlaw Be a Hero) 1968 Black ink on cloth. 37 3/8 x 45 1/4 in. (95 x 115 cm).

Regarding their time away from Brazil while they were still writing and performing songs, Gilberto Gil described in a documentary about Tropicália that he and Caetano Veloso needed each other “as permanent mirror images of the other” to maintain their identities in exile “through a collective thread”. For me, this observation reflects a timeless phenomenon where artists in the diaspora also need the mirror of our peers on which to see our own identities being performed - keeping culture alive inside the individual by the means of nurturing the relationships and social spaces of migrant communities.


You can listen to the Latinxs Collective “Tropicalismo” playlist here, with songs by the most recognised artists of the movement.

Further Reading:
Tate: The Story of Helio Oiticica and the Tropicalia movement.

Tropicalia, Um Projeto de Ana de Oliveira: Marginalia (in Portuguese)

Tropicalia, full length documentary on Youtube.

Raz-Russo, M. Available at:

Tropicalia ou Panis Et Circenses. Available at:

Caetano and Gilberto. Available at:

Seja Marginal Seja Herói (1968). Available at:

16th of December 2020

Ernesto Briel

Ernesto Briel. Untitled, 1967, Indian Ink on Paper.

I got lost in Briel’s hypnotizing optical effects. These not only revealed his insane level of perfectionist dexterity, but also his ability to generate ulterior worlds in touch with mathematics, the universe and his reality surrounded by the Cuban revolution.

Ernesto Briel. Untitled, 1960s, Indian Ink and corrective fluid on Paper.

Ernesto Briel (1943—1992) was a Cuban optical artist that began practice in the 1960’s. His scarce access to materials allowed him only to render his earliest ‘mathematical exercises’ in black ink and imported paper. Why ‘mathematical exercises? The use of algorithms in a generative way (the evolution of numbers or patterns) along with basic shapes and the three principles of the modern world: repetition, superposition and displacement (Jiménez, 2020, p.12-15) yielded a series of aesthetic visual exercises, all by hand without the aid of printers or computers. Briel was also very influenced by astronomy, in pieces such as ‘Untitled (3 Artworks), 1970s’  the placement and direction of the shapes create a pulsating effect resembling the sun or stars (refer to image 3)

Ernesto Briel. Untitled, (3 artworks), 1970s, Indian Ink on Paper.

Briel kept a very underground profile; in part because his artistic practice did not follow the Cuban governments’ political propaganda agenda, as well as being gay. He was persecuted until departing to the United States in 1980 where he continued practicing in New York, where he died from AIDS related complications in 1992.

Ernesto Briel: Iridescent Geometries Exhibition at JCMAC features an unprecedented compendium of Briel’s recovered pieces from the 1960’s - 70’s provided by several art collectors. Learn more about the exhibition here and download the catalogue (available in English and Spanish

Jiménez, A. (2020) Ernest Briel Iridescent Geometries Exhibition held at Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection, Miami 2020-2021 [Exhibition catalogue].

30th of November 2020

Suggestions for UAL
to be truly ANTI-RACIST —

a zine by Kate Bautista

This week we are featuring a recent work by Kate Bautista, originating from a workshop hosted by @ual.amazines that invited all students in the university to discuss the institutional and personal racism in UAL.

Here is what Kate tells us about the zine:

“[The workshop] was a great opportunity to share experiences or critiques of our institutions and therefore create methodologies for ANTI-RACISM, which I believe should be a priority in all our practices in order to dismantle or challenge the imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. After our moments of sharing and more importantly listening, we proceeded to direct this anger and energy towards something physical and handmade, a zine which expressed what we would like to say either to UAL as an institution or to our tutors and student community.

I wanted to focus on suggestions for UAL to be anti-racist, and consequently sharing this with my fellow Latinx community so we can create a community of growth, decolonization and consequently liberation and freedom.

I yearn for my tutors, course leaders and peers to care and dedicate time to comprehend and unlearn the white supremacist attitudes and values that we have been taught and never before questioned.

I comprehend that this physical zine may demonstrate mostly anger directed towards our institution, which indeed my anger is valid. However I find myself wanting to have a more transgressive outcome about what political actions will be taken and how to hold our institutions accountable for racism.”

Below you can find a list of resources that she has given us to read and watch related to the subject:

  • Audre Lorde, The Uses of Anger: Women Against Racism.
  • Richard Dyer, White.
  • bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism.
  • Any bell hooks lecture at The New school

Please note that bell hook’s name is meant to be decapitalised. 

12th of October 2020

Indigenous Resistance Day

1. Angela Camacho for Shado Mag.
2. Katu Mirim, founder of Visibilidade Indígena.

On Indigenous Resistance Day we are reminded of the impact colonialism has had on indigenous lives is still present in our times. With the aid of new forms of communication, members from first nations and pueblos originarios have started to gain their due recognition. Nevertheless, indigenous voices continue to be put aside; as a way to counteract this action, three members of the admin team want to recommend a few platforms which articulate the every day life experiences of indigenous people in different territories around the world.

Angela Camacho
is an indigenous community organiser based in London. She has done various workshops, exhibitions and panels with work related to being a migrant, undocumented and indigenous woman living in the city. I have personally learned a lot more about decolonisation by virtue of reading her posts; her contributions to the Latinx community living in London are –in my opinion– immeasurable. As far as activists from London you should know, Angela is the number one in my list. You can find her on Instagram, she also has a links page where you can read her press articles from Mitú, Shado Magazine and Feminopraxis along with other useful resources. There is also a Fundrazr set up to help her with her visa application.

The Native Spirit Film Festival, held in London (this year virtually) aims to celebrate indigenous culture through film, giving a space to indigenous cultural contributions through the arts and discussion. I’ve had the opportunity to attend twice, to be able to access indigenous filmmakers and learn infinitely about different artistic visions, history and current issues. Personally, when the 12th of October changed name from “Columbus Day” to Indigenous Resistance Day in Venezuela I began to realise how such an integral part of ‘Venezuelaness’ is constructed from the influence of indingenous culture yet rarely given the credit or space. Nowadays indigenous people in the country are still fighting genocide and displacement, due to their lands being invaded for illegal mining and other problematic activities in the country.

Visibilidade Indígena is a platform in Brazil highlighting indigenous culture and art. They have a valuable archive of indigenous cinema with content in both Portuguese and Spanish, Cinenativo. The founder, Katú Mirim, collaborated with the Tibira collective in a podcast episode –in Portuguese– where they talk about the experience of being Brazilian, indigenous and LGBTQIA+, which you can listen to here. In Brazil, the 12th of October is overshadowed by Children’s Day and the national holiday of the patron saint of the state. The day is scarcely remembered for what it is, the starting point of the European invasion of the Americas and the ethnocide of indigenous people, who continue to be marginalised and targeted by the capitalist and eurocentric society of Brazil.

5th of October 2020
Hola a todxs! As you may have already seen we have a brand new website, this will be a space in which anything is permitted–well, almost. Find our events timeline and meet the admins in the About Us section. Get a glimpse of our personality in the Chismoseo blog.

Be part of our Artists in Residence and showcase your work online alongside Collective members in our bi-monthly exhibition. If you are interested in applying contact us. Feel free to roam around while it still smells like fresh paint.

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