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Cuadernos del CILHA

On-line version ISSN 1852-9615


SERVIDDIO, Fabiana. Portinari's murals at the Hispanic Room of the United States' Library of Congress: the building of a Panamerican identity through the arts. Cuad. CILHA [online]. 2011, vol.12, n.1, pp.124-152. ISSN 1852-9615.

On the edge of its engagement in World War II, United States' government implemented a program of cultural and commercial interchanges with Latin America in order to protect its interests in the hemisphere and to counterattack the influence exerted by the Axis. The agency responsible for this mission was the Office of the Coordinator of Inter American Affairs, leaded by Nelson Rockefeller. To meet this goal, OCIIA engaged, as advisers or members of staff, representative and influential citizens from a variety of spheres. A strong Pan-American net expanded towards Latin America and established ties with artists, intellectuals and politicians that shared the same common enemy: Nazism and fascism, their values of ethnic superiority and of a political system based on dictatorship. In the visual arts section, OCIIA dedicated mostly to organize and circulate exhibitions in the States and in Latin America. Occasionally, OCIIA also founded artistic projects, as was the case with the four murals painted by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari at the Hispanic Room of the Library of Congress. Portinari' s art poetic and ideology, as well as his previous work in the States, eased Pan-Americanism' s objectives. The murals built a multicultural hemispheric identity through the arts, an identity based on respect for racial and cultural diversity. At the same time, the murals reflected the artist's social concerns, and affirmed the creative possibilities of American people to produce an alternative modern process.

Keywords : Net; Pan-Americanism; Portinari; Exhibition; Rockefeller.

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