The main focus of the presentation is the images of different aspects of Amazonian life and the people who live there, not always known by the Brazilians themselves who live elsewhere. These images are the result of the desire for knowledge and representation of otherness, which is perhaps one of the constants of Western history from at least the 15th century. Many visual narratives are part of the iconography about Brazil since the beginning of the 16th century and the main purpose of this presentation is to discuss this rich iconography by the Europeans and more recently by the Brazilians themselves. The scientific expeditions that arrive in Brazil in the first half of the 19th century, seem to rediscover the vast Brazilian territory for the world, portrayed by designers and painters who record our fauna, flora and also the physical types, scenes of Brazilian indigenous populations and artifacts of their material culture. But from the second half of the 19th century, it is photography that among the several visual narratives will play the role to fix the representation of otherness. In the present days photography has been used to visually describe not only what we want to preserve, but also to make evident the price of progress and the huge transformations it entails.
Sylvia Caiuby Novaes is Professora Titular at Universidade de São Paulo, where she teaches at the Departamento de Antropologia. Having done field research among indigenous populations in Brazil for more than thirty years, a post doc at the University of Manchester lead her to the field of Visual Anthropology. She is the founder of LISA – Laboratório de Imagem e Som em Antropologia. Her publications include books and articles about South American Ethnology and Visual Anthropology, among them The Play of Mirrors – the representation of self mirrored in the other (University of Texas Press, 1993); Landscapes of Memory – the first visual images of the Bororo of Central Brazil (2019).