Graphisms, Wefts, and Fabrics

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Collective identities result from a strategic selection of some elements within a vast repertoire, allowing the contrast with other countries or social groups. Thus, identity and otherness are two sides of the same coin. In different historical moments, Brazilian intellectuals and artists turned to indigenous visual patterns, objects, practices, and words to build an identity capable of differentiating Brazil from other nations. At the same time, however, native peoples were losing their lands, suffering violence and epistemicide. The focus of this article is on the presence of graphics and other indigenous expressive forms in design, fashion, textile arts, and other modalities of so-called “applied” art in Brazil. Without any ambition of exhaustiveness, some artists and works that appropriated the indigenous visuality throughout the twentieth century are recovered, differentiating them from more recent artistic initiatives, carried out by the indigenous themselves.