Martha Araújo’s (Maceió, Brazil 1943) work is embedded in a line of development that is fundamental to the consolidation of Brazilian art in the latter half of the 20th Century of which artist such as Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape can be considered the founders.
Martha Araújo’s body of work seems now crucial as it emerged in a very complicated moment in Brazilian history just at the end of a long dictatorship and developed in the early years of a very young democracy. Her work reflects in a very strong and poetic way the longing for liberty after decades of repression.
Martha Araújo’s oeuvre questions how the body is intimately entwined with the world, how the “I” negotiates terms of relations, and the implicit social contracts existing amongst ourselves by which we make love or peace. Her unique poetical language combines bodies, materials and forces projecting relationships and emotions between the individual and his/her surroundings. She proposes other ways of knowing by producing sensorial phenomenological exercises which enquire into our ways of being-in- the-world in correlation to questions of modes of world-making. Araújo’s sensibility evokes the body as the area of the world which is the main ground of the human expression.
The recurrent actions in her works have a strong political resonance, which makes evident the conflict the artist had lived through all those past and difficult years, in fact she was very active against the dictatorial regime during this time of repression. But is important not to avoid a more intimate and perhaps even more complex approach related to a close connection with “the other”, as a way to reaffirm and to reinforce or individuality and independence.
Martha Araújo participated in the VII and IX Salão Nacional de Artes Plásticas (MAM/ RJ). She was granted an award at the 10th Salão Carioca de Artes (1986) and carried out solo exhibitions at numerous venues. In 2014 the artist participated in the XII Bienal de Cuenca, at Artevida: Parque at EAV/Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, III Mostra do Programa de Exposições 2014 of the Centro Cultural São Paulo as Guest Artist, and most recently in 2016 at “Resistance Performed-Aesthetic strategies under repressive regimes in Latin America”, Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland, and “Radical Women: Latin American art 1960-1985”, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 2017.