Efrain Almeida

Boa Viagem, Brazil, 1964




In wooden sculptures, watercolors and occasional stamps and drawings, Efrain Almeida’s work combines elements of Northeastern Brazilian popular culture with autobiographical aspects in lyrical compositions. His practice employs the techniques and formal vocabulary of carvers from the sertão and popular Catholic imagery, in reference to his childhood in Boa Viagem, in the interior of Ceará, before his arrival in Rio de Janeiro in 1976. Almeida’s sculptures of bodies or body parts recall votive objects found in Brazilian catholic circumstances, imbued with a symbolic, confessional dimension, as the artist represents himself in this visual language. Different types of birds, from the hummingbird to the soldadinho-do-araripe, make up Efrain’s bestiary, referring to aspects of their native regions interspersed with the artist’s memories. Often sculpted in mid-flight, transmitting movement as Almeida suspends them in a static instant, these birds, like his work as a whole, fuse grace and melancholy, transience and permanence.

His recent solo exhibitions include O Jardim, MON – Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil (2024)Encarnado, Centro Cultural do Cariri Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Crato, Brazil (2023); O Sexto Dia, Museu de Arte Sacra de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2022); A Memória da Mão, MCO Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal (2018) and Trance, James Harris Gallery, Seattle, USA (2017). The artist also participated in the group shows Stirring the Pot, Casa da Cultura da Comporta, Comporta, Portugal (2024);Nunca só essa mente, nunca só esse mundo, Carpintaria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2023); I Could Eat You, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel + Madragoa + CLEARING, Casa da Cultura da Comporta, Comporta, Portugal (2022); Crônicas cariocas, MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2022) and Engraved into the Body, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA (2021).

Efrain Almeida’s work has been included in important public collections, such as Caixa Geral de Depositos, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal; CGAC – Centro Galego de Arte Contemporânea, Santiago do Compostela, Spain; Fundação ARCO, Madrid, Spain; Instituto Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil; MAC – Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; MAMAM – Museu de Arte Moderna Aloísio Magalhães, Recife, Brazil MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janiero, Brazil; MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota Aichi, Japan; and The Polyclinic, Seattle, USA.