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Saudade, Pipoca, e Brasilidade

My work communicates a desire to investigate my memories and reflect my world in order to free others from feeling alone and culturally conflicted. Growing up “Brazilian-American”, I am often delightfully transported to moments in my young life through the scent of doce de leite, the déjà vu of an idiom spoken, or the rhythm of a classic Brazilian song. I’m also reminded of the insecurities, prejudices, and distance I’ve experienced along the search for my sense of belonging. These are deep sensations of saudade and disharmony.

The smell of pipoca takes me to the streets of Curitiba, the city of my birth, where the pipoqueiro sells to tourists and locals downtown, who pay for the cheap snack--yet often lack change for the nearby beggar. These memories are captured in porcelain, with each handmade popcorn inheriting a sense of history. Each popcorn requires a story to be told. This story is one of complicated nostalgia. Pride and shame are a constant fixture in the questioning of my brasilidade. Digging into my roots for answers, I uncovered a violent history of racism and colonization, US-led coups, a country gripped by conservative evangelicals, and a struggle for liberation.

With this historical lens and Bolsonaro in power, the Brazilian flag and soccer jersey no longer have meant the same to me (consider the Indigenous perspective). But my hope is reaffirmed in the love of the people who fight back, who thoughtfully consider their role in our world, and are eager to join in building a better one. By confronting the contradictions we face together and shedding our fears I hope we can use food for thought as sparks for action.


Photo credit: Jerry Misael

O Sonho: A Brazilian’s Dream

I award this ceramic trophy to my parents, their faces illustrated among symbols of their labor and identity. Their labor, a penalty kick of a ceramic soccer ball, made for a shot of success toward security past the barbed wire. My parents are more than worthy of their success, which made my hands able to make this art. Too many lie on this land's "greener side" in obscurity and injury without green card or papers. They too deserve this monument - an in-between state of cultures in constant memory. We eat a sweet sonho, a Brazilian pastry, at our local Brazilian cafe and bring a couple more home to remind us of what was once called home

Ceramic Pasteleria

Pastel de queijo, pastel doce, pastel de carne. These are my memories of Brazilian joy. Simple meals specific to my experience as a Brazilian, yet, as dough pockets with filling of choice they are broad across all cultures. Ceramic holds my history; hold these pastels, and rattle the memory of your own making.


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