Life, Literature and the Like
Currently living in Tiradentes, Minas Gerais, after many years in the country, Oscar Araripe was born in Rio de Janeiro in July 1941. His mother from Ceara, northern Brazil, and his gaucho father from the extreme south, soon moved to the proletariate neighbourhood of Encantado ("Enchanted") where his father, a doctor, and his mother, a teacher, both carried on their professions.
The author's recollections of this time are the chilling echoes of war - diphteria, the old gas-driven automobile, his realization of the misery that for ages had beset the peoples of the world. A rebel and a dreamer, his performance at school was terrible and to top it all, he caught an almost fatal disease. Later, more healthy, he discovers the joys of a suburban childhood full of freedom in the company of beautiful fruit trees, hills and soccer fileds. There, in those backyards, learns about the wind thru flying kites, the taste of fortune paired with audacity, independent sociability, the great beauty in the small. And in the big. The universe in a marble. Reads Jules Verne, Robin Hood, Robinson Crusoe, The Three Musketeers and the heroes of American comic strips.
Later his parents move to Ipanema and Oscar Araripe is jumping into the sea off the rocks at the Arpoador, hanging out at Devil's Beach and drinking beer at the Jangadeiros, a very popular bar during the sixties. This is Ipanema before the famous Garota (Girl From Ipanema); the 60's and politics is everything, seeming capable of saving life itself. The author joins the National Faculty of Law. Then comes the military coup of 1964.
Participates in the CACO-Livre Student Movement. Has his political rights withdrawn. Travels to USA on a scolarship from the Interamerican University Foundation in 66 and 68. Attends seminars at Harvard. America is in turmoil; the Vietnan war and the civil rights struggle. Oscar Araripe gets interested in theater. Writes an essay on Contemporary American Theater. A further grant takes him to France then he returns to Brazil. Translates Peter Brooks' "The Empty Space". Adapts and stages Cecilia Meireles' "O Romanceiro da Inconfidência" (the classic epic poem of Brazil's independence), in Ouro Preto. Writes "The Transilvanian Envoy", a satire in three acts for the theater, happily lost in a taxi in Rome. Is punished by the Federeal Censor Board, an episode which led to the first and only theater strike. Becomes interested in the personal and a militant in the AP (Popular Action Movement), writing the essay "A Brief Introductory Study of Personalism" which earns him a scolarship at the Pro Deo University in Rome.
There he writes for a variety of Brazilian publications. Travels through Europe. Organizes a march in Rome, together with others, against the AI5 (the Institutional Act decreed by the Brazilian Military Government - its masterpiece of repression). Returns to Brazil in 1969. Becomes a theater critic, culture editorialist, columnist, writer and reporter for the newspapers "Correio da Manha", "Ultima Hora" and "Jornal do Brasil". Together with Augusto Rodrigues publishes "Art and Education". Founding member of the International Society for Education Through Art (INSEA). Is invited to visit Poland, Germany and China. Publishes "China: the Possible Pragmatism" with great success.
1975 - is cited in the bibliography of the New Aurelio Dictionary, the biggest and the best in Portuguese language. Leaves journalism and goes into literature. Takes part in "Poemação" at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. Publishes "Maria na Terra de meus Olhos" with a preface by Antonio Houaiss and Eduardo Portella.
1976 - Oscar Araripe takes a stand on "spontaneism", on vegetablism [sic], on peasant horizonts. Goes to live in Mirantão, Minas Gerais, where he spends 13 years. In 1982 publishes "Marsha, Jupiter and I". In the August 83 edition of "Veja" magazine, Marcelo Rubens Paiva says of it "A love letter to nature and, above all, to women".
1984 - Finnaly finished "Eu Promeu", a bold book with 400 pages and with which he first gets into painting. As a calligrapher he draws 12 envisioned transcriptions of rock drawings in Brazil which he calls "Pilares" (pillars). Concludes the "Oui Xiang-Xing Oui" pillar.
1988 - Exhibits at the Olivia Kann Gallery in Ipanema his landscapes and the "Pillar of Areião".
"I laid out on the table those 200 or so drawings, done with an incredible mixture of materials - acrylic, pastel, industrial paints, pen and ink - and all done on unheard-of tracing paper. I went through them one by on as if flicking the pages of a book. This parallel I draw with a text is not as silly as it seems, after all, Oscar Araripe, writer and theatrical whiz-kid, a personality of the 60's, author of a successful book on China and since 1975 a novelist, draws and paints a little like he writes, in a torrent. And, I must confess, it was some trip - as if I, the straightest of them all, had been turned on for the first time" - says Frederico Moraes.
"Oscar Araripe - an open clearing exploding in the jungle of painting" says Jean Boghici.
"From his brilliant brushes sprout totally new visions of our baroque heritage and the Minas Gerais landscape dominated by mountains" says Helio Carneiro in the magazine Manchete.
With more than 30 exhibitions over the last 5 years in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto, Brasília, São João del-Rei and Tiradentes, Oscar Araripe continues to renew the art of painting, not only trough his brush stroke and original colors, spontaneous and unsual, but also the materials he uses synthetic canvas and tubulares strucutures as frames and supports allowing him permanent showing facilities outdoors for the public at large.
Araripe was painting Visconde de Mauá landscapes and exhibit it at Olivia Kann Gallery in Rio:
At the same time shows visionaries transcriptions in the Itau Galleries in São Paulo and Brasilia:
Invited to inaugurate new show places for painting, Oscar Araripe exhibited his work in the Villa-Lobos Room of the National Theatre in Brasilia in 91 and the following year at the Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro, his particularly original ecological tribute, "The Pillar of Uaupés" was shown.
His two wall panels on Tiradentes exhibited in April of the same year simultaneously in the gardens of the Republic Museum in Rio and on the patio of the Museu in Belo Horizonte.
In May, his exhibiton "Kites" at the Bank of Brazil's Cultural Center in Rio was followed in June by "Extinction Never Again" in the Botanical Gardens, also in Rio, as part of the special presentations during ECO-92 and seen by an estimated 2 million people.
In July of 93, re-inaugurating the Ouro Preto Winter Festival, he exhibited "Kites of Freedom" in Tiradentes Square and in December, "Nativity" at Brasilia's Igrejinha (the famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer's Chapel).
Still in 93, he paints "Ouro Preto", showing 16 draws at the Ouro Preto Art Foundation and at Villa Riso, on Rio de Janeiro:
His landscapes, flora, animals, erotics as well as his envisioned transcripitons of Brazilian rock drawing have eaught the attention of such hight regarded critics in both media and cultural circles as Frederico Moraes, Jean Boghici, Alberto Beuttenmuller, Walmir Ayala, Augusto Marzagão, Luiz Galdino, Milton Ribeirto, Márcio Cotrim, Fernando Lemos, Mário Margutti, Tertuliano dos Passos, Marylka Mendes, João Bosco de Castro Teixeira, Rubens Araújo, Hélio Carneiro, Gustavo Praça, José Geraldo Heleno, Wilson Lima, Oyama Alencar, Palhares Jr. e Robert Ballantynes.
"His opinions, his lifestyle and his work make up a harmonic whole and go hand with this rare and fortunate, truly fantastic, extraordinary overflowing that his painting reveals" says Wilson Lima
In March 94 he relocates his studio to Tiradentes, Minas Gerais, where he now lives. In April of the same year during FUNREI's 7th. Anniversary celebrations, he exhibited "Tiradentes, the National Hero" outdoors in São Joao del-Rei where he also opened the 7th. Winter Culture Festival in July with "São Joao Kites" at various locations trought the city..
In May 95 he undertakes an interactive painting project with the children of Tiradentes during the Federal University of Minas Gerais' "Cultural Workshop", exhibiting "Day and Night" outdoors in the town square, the Largo das Forras.
In July he opens his exhibition "Tiradentes, the Spectacular Little Village" in the old Courthouse, with 15 canvasses on the adorable great little town.
In December his series of 14 paintings on São Joao del-Rei goes on show at the Regional Museum. As from 96, he regulary shows his recent work in July at his own gallery in Tiradentes.
In 99 he turns to the sea and paints Long Island on the São Paulo coast.
And also begins to exhibit his work permanently in Templeton, California, were painting The Central Coast and the Vimeyards of Paso Robles.
"Araripe, his painting for me is poetry. It has beauty of color, the purity and joy of children and the artist's talent. This is the way real masters create." says Milton Ribeiro.