12 May 2021: The exhibition Pertencimento by visual artist Bruno Barbi was cancelled by the shopping centre Villa Romana, reported Voz da Resistencia.
The exhibition was scheduled for 13 May 2021, the day marking slavery abolition in Brazil. The series “Pertenecimento” contains ten watercolours portraits of Black women and a text written by Gislene Santos.
In his statement, Barbi denounced Villa Romana’s actions and has defined it as a “cowardly act of trying to hide a latent racism”.
According to a public statement issued by the shopping centre Villa Romana, they initially asked for more time to prepare the exhibition and change the opening date. Barbi refused this proposition.
As a response to the censorship, visual artist Hugo Rubilar and street artist Sergio Casalecchi cancelled their exhibitions in the act of support. The three artists currently have their artworks exhibit in a joint exhibition at gallery Mercado Público until 2 July 2021.
According to Freemuse’s research presented in The State of Artistic Freedom 2021 report, censorship has been used as one of the tools to silence criticism and to narrow the national narrative based on conservative Christian values in 2020 in Brazil.