Rivane Neuenschwander Zé Carioca no. 4, A Volta de Zé Carioca (1960). Edição Histórica, Ed. Abril, 2004

  • Not on view

Neuenschwander tackles the politics of Walt Disney by dismantling a historic edition of the popular Brazilian comic book Zé Carioca, created in 1941 when the animator visited South America to support American relations with the region during World War II. The main character, Zé Carioca, a soccer–playing green parrot whose name loosely translates as "Joe from Rio," is a stand–in for the Brazilian everyman. Having grown up with cartoons, Neuenschwander recalls that Zé Carioca acted in stories with nationalistic overtones. "His character was based on a stereotypical cliché of the Brazilian," she says, "or more precisely, the Carioca (someone born in Rio de Janeiro): street–smart, lazy, a lover of soccer and samba, a flirt and a swindler. The cliché of the cliché, he ended up helping to crystallize the national image of the malandro (rascal)." She confronts the implicit political and racial undertones by overpainting the figures in bright monochrome colors and whiting out the text. By turning each page into an abstraction the artist offers viewers a clean slate to imagine their own stories and dialogues.

Gallery label from 2007
Acrylic and ink on printed paper
Each: 7 1/2 x 5 1/4" (19.1 x 13.3 cm)
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
© 2024 Rivane Neuenschwander
Drawings and Prints

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