Rex P. Nielson: Environmental Refugees in the Work of Candido Portinari
This presentation focuses on the Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari and his long-standing interest in drought and migrant refugees. Portinari is famous for a series of paintings he produced in 1944 of migrants, but beyond this series, he produced dozens of paintings of drought, environmental crisis, and refugees long before this series and afterwards. My work analyzes Portinari’s painting in the context of state-controlled narratives of Brazil’s natural abundance and government censorship of drought during the period of the 1930s and 40s.
Rex P. Nielson is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Brigham Young University and a BYU Humanities Center Fellow. His research focuses on four principal areas 1) ecocriticism and environmental ethics in Brazil and the global south, 2) gender in Brazilian literature and culture, 3) language and literature pedagogy in higher education, and 4) translation studies. His recent articles have appeared in Journal of Lusophone Studies, Romance Notes, Hispania, Foreign Language Annals, Romance Quarterly, and Estudos de Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea. He is currently working on a major anthology project, provisionally entitled Brazilian Environmental Literature, a volume that traces the development of the theme of nature in Brazilian literature in order to establish a history of Brazil’s environmental imagination.