Brazilian smells followed the meandering visitors of the Woodbury Art Museum while they walked past brightly colored walls bearing actual bumpers, inscribed with “dichos” and colorful artwork. Senses were aroused with Latin American sights, scents and tastes during the open house for the new exhibits, where Tucanos Brazilian Grill provided food to match the setting.
“Sensing Brazil” and “Dichos: Words to Live, Love and Laugh by in Latin America” will show in the University Mall location of the UVU museum until Nov. 30, 2011. The photo-heavy exhibitions focus primarily on the artwork created through inscribing dichos, which are sayings or amusing expressions, on vehicles.
The practice of painting vehicles and bumpers by hand, most common in Latin America, was highlighted by the museum as their way of joining this school year’s global spotlight on Brazil, chosen by the UVU International Center.
Melissa Hempel, Woodbury Art Museum interim director and curator, explained her desire to maintain an ongoing connection with the campus, but still explore as much culture as possible.
“We wanted the whole museum to be thematic, so putting Brazil in the context of Latin America went well with that,” Hempel said.
The dichos exhibits, actually property of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, are part of a travelling exhibition, which is why these works will be displayed at the museum for such a short time.
The Sensing Brazil exhibition doesn’t belong to the Woodbury Art Museum either. These culturally heavy works were loaned from the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. Not designed to travel, these exhibits had to be transported from California in special crates, made especially for the purpose of carrying these unique pieces.
In addition to showing these culturally rich works by artists in other countries, the Woodbury Art Museum has included a way to showcase local talent as well. A Day of the Dead area, featuring photography by UVU faculty member John Rees, acts as what Hempel calls a “community altar.” Museum visitors are invited to bring in photos or mementos that they use to remember their loved ones. Items shared will be displayed until the end of the exhibition, Nov. 30, after which they will be returned to their owners.
For more information visit the Woodbury Art Museum or call 801-863-4200.
By Jeff Jacobsen
Asst. Life Editor