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Maureen Bisilliat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sheila Maureen Bisilliat (born February 16, 1931) is an English-born Brazilian photographer.[1]

Early life

She was born in Englefield Green, Surrey, daughter of the painter Sheila Brannigan (1914 - 1994) and a diplomat. She studied painting with André Lhote in Paris, in 1955, and at New York's Art Students League with Morris Kantor in 1957.

She came to Brazil for the first time in 1952, esblishing herself in 1957, in the city of São Paulo.[2] In her words, "Brazil was a search for roots which I did not have as a child. I was born in England, yes, but I lived in many places. My father was a diplomat, which forced me to live a sort of a chameleonic life . Fate tied me to Brazil. It was a willfull stay. ".[3]

From 1962, she abandoned painting and began to dedicate herself to photography. She worked as a photojournalist for Editora Abril, between 1964 and 1972 - in the magazine Quatro Rodas but became especially prominent in the defunct magazine Realidade.

Between 1972 and 1992, together with her second husband, the Frenchman Jacques Bisilliat, and the architect Antônio Marcos Silva, founded the O Bode folk art gallery. During this period, she travelled through Brazil in search of works by popular artists and craftsmen, to compose the gallery's collection. Also at that time, in 1988, at the request of the anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro, Maureen, Jacques and Antônio Marcos are invited to work in the formation of the Latin American popular art collection of the Fundação Memorial da América Latina in São Paulo. For this, the three traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, collecting pieces for the permanent collection of the Memorial's Creativity Pavilion, from which Maureen has since become a curator.[4]

Maureen Bisilliat got a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1970;[5] a grant from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (1981 - 1987), from the São Paulo Research Foundation (1984 - 1987) and from the Japan Foundation (1987).

In December 2003, her complete photographic work, with more than 16,000 images, including photographs, black and white negatives and colored cards, in the 35mm and 6 cm x 6 cm formats, was incorporated into the Instituto Moreira Salles photographic collection.[6][7]

In 17 March 2010, she was awarded the Order of Ipiranga by the São Paulo state government.[8]

Published books

She published a number of photography books inspitred on the work of Brazilian writers:

Other notable books by her are Xingu: Detalhes de uma Cultura (São Paulo: Editora Raízes, 1978),Xingu: Território Tribal (London: William Collins & Sons, 1979) and Terras do Rio São Francisco (São Paulo: co-edition Editora Raízes and BEMGE, 1985).


In 1985 she exhibits in a special room at the 18th São Paulo Art Biennial a photographic essay inspired by the book O Turista Aprendiz, by Mário de Andrade.


Since the 1980s, she has devoted herself to video work, notably the Xingu / Terra feature documentary, shot with Lúcio Kodato, in the Mehinako village in the Upper Xingu.

Individual exhibitions

  • 1965 – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand
  • 2010 – Galeria FIESP
  • 2011 - Museu Oscar Niemeyer - Curitiba

Collective exhibitions

  • 1971 – Fotógrafos de São Paulo, Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo
  • 1975 – Xingu/Terra (Sala Especial), 13ª Bienal Internacional de São Paulo
  • 1979 – Xingu/Terra, Museum of Natural History, New York City
  • 1985
    • 1ª Quadrienal de Fotografia, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
    • O Turista Aprendiz (Sala Especial), 18ª Bienal Internacional de São Paulo
  • 1987 – O Turista Aprendiz (Sala Especial), Salon de la Photographie, Paris, França
  • 1989 – Teatro do Presídio (Sala Especial), Seção de Teatro da 20ª Bienal Internacional de São Paulo
  • 1992 – Brasilien: entdeckung und selbstentdeckung, Kunsthaus, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 1995 – Fotografia Brasileira Contemporânea. Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro
  • 1998 – Amazônicas. Itaú Cultural, São Paulo
  • 1999 – Brasilianische Fotografie, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
  • 2003 – Labirintos e Identidades: a fotografia no Brasil de 1945 a 1998, Centro Universitário Maria Antônia, São Paulo
  • 2004 – Brasileiro Brasileiros. Museu Afro-Brasil, São Paulo
  • 2004 – São Paulo 450 Anos: a imagem e a memória da cidade no acervo do Instituto Moreira Salles, Centro Cultural Fiesp, São Paulo


In 1987, Maureen Bisilliat received the Best Photographer Award from the São Paulo Association of Art Critics.[9]


  1. ^ Estadão,27 de Fevereiro de 200 Artistas registram últimos dias do Carandiru
  2. ^ Cara Brasileira: a brasilidade nos negócios – um caminho para o “made in Brazil”
  3. ^ Revista Nossa América.
  4. ^ Enciclpédia Itaú Cultural de Artes Visuais
  5. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 1970 Fellows Page". 2006-04-12. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  6. ^ Rio &Cultura.
  7. ^ Instituto Moreira Salles.
  8. ^ "DECRETO Nº 55.576". Portal da Assembleia Legislativa do Estado de São Paulo. 17 March 2010.
  9. ^ Coleção Pirelli / MASP de Fotografia
This page was last edited on 11 March 2019, at 05:29
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