Latin American Contemporary Art
Martha Araujo: Repression and Freedom

A look into the origins and legacy of the explorative works of the Brazilian artist.

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Martha Araújo was born in 1943 in Maceió, Brazil. At the end of the military dictatorship in her home country -which lasted from 1964 to 1985- she began exploring the physical and psychological limits of the body. Araújo created what she called "performatic objects".  These were wearable textile pieces that invited public participation and combined performance and sculpture. Through them she reflected her experiences and conveyed how the dictatorship made them feel trapped. She created a play between repression and freedom and between self and other.

Habito/Habitante, 1982-1987
Para Um Corpo Nas Suas Impossibilidades, 1985.
Left: Para Um Corpo Nas Suas Impossibilidades, 1985. Right: Habito/Habitante, 1982-1987.
Habito/Habitante, 1982-1987

She has further explored space, the body and mind by asking spectators to use objects and clothing that she produces and showcases in exhibition spaces around the world.

Martha Araújo, Para un corpo nas suas impossibilidades, 1985. Exhibition view from 2015 Migros Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.

Photo from Exhibition: Para um corpo pleno de vazios, 2015, at Galeria Jaqueline Martins in Sao Paulo.
Photo from Exhibition: Para um corpo pleno de vazios, 2015, at Galeria Jaqueline Martins in Sao Paulo.
Photo from Exhibition: Para um corpo pleno de vazios, 2015, at Galeria Jaqueline Martins in Sao Paulo.
Martha Araújo & Elena Narbutaitė, ‘Burning’, installation view, PM8
Martha Araújo & Elena Narbutaitė, ‘Burning’, installation view, PM8