|::: ÉLON BRASIL :::|
"Many buyers of my paintings feel that the Indian is the most representative; after all, these are the true
Brazilians. In the United States, people are more attracted to the images which portray the link with Africa;
these collectors include Forest Whitaker, Victoria Rowell
- Élon Brasil
Population estimates suggest that the nation of Brazil hosts the largest concentration of people of African descent of any nation in the Western Hemisphere - including the United States. So it is logical to expect that this Latin American nation would produce its own artistic legacy of Africans in the Americas. And in the appropriately-surnamed artist Élon Brasil, our expectations of artistic greatness are fulfilled. Élon was born in a small fishing village near Rio de Janeiro in 1957, the son of a black mother and a mixed-race father of indigenous, Italian, and Portuguese ancestry. At the age of six he started sketching with crayons, which probably was encouraged by his father, a self-taught artist with leftist orientations. As a political visionary, Brasil's father received many influential political guests, and Brasil sketched them all using skills he had absorbed from watching his father paint. In 1968, the family moved to Sao Paulo where Élon won his first award. By the age of 13, Brasil had become a renowned illustrator and revered by numerous galleries across the country.
The younger Brasil's work was surrealist - incurably so. Although his scenes were concrete and precise, he was often called a "fantastic realist." By the age of 28, as a result of his prolific youth, he was an established force on the Brazilian art scene. And it was at this time that he began to connect more deeply with the roots of his ancestry. Brasil took a grand and bold three-month journey to live with a group of indigenous natives of his country. He joined them in their healing rituals, and this is where he absorbed many of the spiritual influences found in his work. These shamans believed, for example, that they could invoke a bird spirit and see the entire jungle for mapping out hunting paths. Shamans speak in a language of gesture-words and feelings. The linguistic effect is to blur the lines between dream and reality. And those influences are seen in Brasil's works where he blurs the lines between realism and surrealism - thus earning the reputation of a "fantastic realist." His work is more intuitive in spirit and energy than in physical form.
Today, his figurative and abstract compositions are inhabited by the images of the Brazilian land, Indians, African-Brazilians, and Caboclos (mixed race) surrounded by a foliage of outstanding colors and textures. His themes aim to emphasize and preserve the Brazilian culture and its indigenous roots. Élon takes from his nation's history and his personal origins the inspiration for his work, but gives back to an admiring world the majesty and dignity of Brazil's peoples of color.
Although self-taught, Élon's innate genius, interpersonal connections, and deep ties with Brazil's black and brown cultures powerfully inform each piece he creates. Living with Indians, African tribes, and with the magic of Condomble (an African-Brazilian religion) has imbued the artist with a profound talent for perpetuating on canvas the lifestyles and emotional landscape that distinguish each of these cultures. If you stand before an Élon Brasil painting it is easy to understand his fascination for his culture. You are gripped by the alluring eyes of his subjects - eyes that may see life quite differently from us.
Élon is internationally-renowned and his work has been exhibited in Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Spain, Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles. The works of this "fantastic realist" from the Americas are found in numerous museums and private collections.