Brazilian stories

Anna Boghiguian, Back to the Roots, 2019


Statement on MASP's attitude that made MST's participation in the scheduled exhibition unfeasible

With this statement, we came to express our indignation with the attitude of the management of the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP) that led to the impossibility of carrying out the Nucleus “Retomadas”, as part of the show Histórias Brasileiras.

As informed by an email received from the curators on 03/05/2022, under allegations of a bureaucratic and legalistic nature that do not support the effective realization of the project, MASP prevented the insertion of images from the MST Collection, from the João Zinclar Collection and from other collections that document the trajectory of the MST and the struggle for Agrarian Reform in Brazil.

We are witnesses of the ethical and professional way in which the curators and the partner collections committed themselves to the production of the project, in all stages and in accordance with the demands of the institution.

We affirm our respect and support to the curators Sandra Benites and Clarissa Diniz, responsible for the Nucleus “Retomadas”, who, given the attitude of MASP, decided not to participate in the exhibition, because, as they declare: “Accepting the exclusion of images from the retakes in the name of the permanence of the core would lead us to be disloyal to the subjects and movements involved in our curation – a contradiction that we are not willing to negotiate because we do not agree with such irresponsibility”.

As the curators state: “Retomadas is about the urgency of reviewing the colonial ethics and policies of our territories, languages, bodies, representations and museums. From our point of view, keeping it in spite of the representation of the retakes that give it its title, argument and social meaning would lead us to be anti-ethical in the name of ethics, excluding in the name of inclusion, non-representative in the name of representativeness. , expropriators in the name of non-appropriation, silencers in the name of voice. It would lead us, finally, to practice the coloniality against which the core rebels”.

The material selected by the curators – photographic images, posters, booklets and printed newspapers – testify to the ability of the working class to present itself firmly and proudly as the subject of its history, in every sense.

We emphasize that by making the inclusion of all these documents unfeasible, what actually takes effect is the exclusion of one of the largest social movements in contemporary Brazilian and Latin American history. A decision that points to a construction of distorted historical knowledge committed to a culture that misrepresents the real complexity of Brazilian political history. An attitude that, to say the least, is at odds with the social function of a museological institution that is presented on its website with the following mission: “MASP, a diverse, inclusive and plural Museum, has the mission of establishing, in a critical and creative way, , dialogues between past and present, cultures and territories, based on the visual arts. To this end, it must expand, preserve, research and disseminate its collection, as well as promote the encounter between audiences and art through transformative and welcoming experiences”.

Therefore, we question the excluding attitude of MASP's management, we point out the seriousness of this type of construction of knowledge that makes the struggle of the working class invisible and we call the entire cultural community and entities that represent the struggles of the Brazilian people to this debate, which takes on the urgency of not giving in to censorship and the erasure of our greatest asset: our capacity for organized struggle to build another model of society.

Free Homeland, We Will Win!

João Zinclar collection

Archive and Memory Collective of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST)

National Directorate of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST)


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