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Gil Vicente

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Gil Vicente

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Brazilian artist Gil Vicente is exhibiting at the Sao Paulo Art Biennale in Brazil, infuriating critics and prompting debate on whether controversial artwork should be censored. His lifesize charcoal drawings depict the artist murderng a series of world leaders, including the Queen, the Pope, Lula…

But the artist is unrepentent: “For me this is a great pleasure; it is a catharsis. If I had drawn someone else I would not get this feeling of catharsis. I washed my soul. Ever since I started doing these drawings, I have never voted. I was 47 years old then and now I’m 52 but I’m still forced to pretend to vote. But I refuse.

“I did these drawings full size so that they would actually embrace the observer because if they were small drawings they would not have such impact. I chose not to include a background so there would be no distraction.”

A visitor to the exhibition defended him: “This is a criticism of politics, especially politicians. Although some of them are not currently in power they represent politics. He is expressing a general opinion.”

And a teacher who had brough her class to the exhibition said: “They do incite violence, but the kids found them wonderful. At the same time they observed the violent acts, the way these figures are being assaulted with guns with lack of respect, they still likes the works.”

Unsurprisingly, there have been concerted efforts to close this show, but so far the exhibition’s curator has stood firm.

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