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The objective of this exhibition is to share a fragment of the long story of the Irish and of Irish literature in Brazil. The exhibition, launched in the magnificent National Library in Rio de Janeiro, and presented as both physical and virtual, partially reflects my research which includes further biographical and documentary data that will be available at the Library itself.
The exhibition is divided into two distinct areas: the historic presence of3 the Irish in Brazil and the intellectual presence of the Irish in Brazil, as represented by over 60 Irish fictionists, poets and playwrights in over 500 translations.
The originality of the exhibition is that it brings together, for the first time, stories about the arrival of the first Irish person in Brazil, attempts to establish settlements in four Brazilian regions, including the Amazon, the impact of Ireland’s independence movement in the Brazilian press, the contribution of missionaries and a host of personalities and families of Irish descent to the development of Brazil, including the Irish-born wife of the Brazil’s Patriach of Independence.
The exhibition also reveals that, in the nineteenth century, Irish travelers wrote about Brazil, as did newspapers in Dublin and Belfast, which highlighted the little-known visit of the Emperor Dom Pedro II and the Empress Teresa Cristina of Brazil to Ireland, in 1877!
The research project for this exhibition began over 25 years ago.
Peter O’Neill, curator
Peter O’Neill, former official of the Honorary Consulate General of Ireland in Rio de Janeiro; ex officio member of the European Tourism Commission in São Paulo; pioneer in Brazil in promoting English language courses in Ireland; independent researcher about the history of the Irish in Brazil; author of Links between Brazil and Ireland (1995); member of the Brazilian Association of Irish Studies and the Brazilian Association of Photographic Arts.
The exhibition Irlandeses no Brasil contains within it, as an organic whole, the intellectual, literary and artistic presence of Ireland in Brazil.
The panels dedicated to this presence cover: classics of Irish literature that have been translated in Brazil, such as Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde; Irish writers who have won the Nobel Prize in Literature – William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney – all available in translation in Brazil; the celebrated James Joyce, all of whose works, with the exception of some of his letters, have been translated in Brazil; Irish contemporary literature, among which we highlight authors with works published in translation, who have been the subject of academic research in Brazilian universities, or who have visited Brazil – such as Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Edna O’Brien, Colum McCann and John Banville – among many; Irish theatre on the stage in Brazil; the cinema, music and dance of Ireland in Brazil; and a brief panorama of Irish Studies in Brazil.
The exhibition includes a collection of books from the Brazilian National Library, and the texts of the panels were written with the collaboration of specialists in literature, the arts and translation, creating a fluid, multi-style experience.
It now awaits the public, to enjoy and appreciate the historic, literary and artistic wealth that is the work and presence of the Irish in Brazil!
Profa. Dra. Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos, curator
Profa. Dra. Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos, Post-graduate Programme in English and Centre of Irish Studies (UFSC). BA in Letras (UFJF); PGC in Literatures in English (UFF); MA in English (Northwestern University); PhD in Linguistic and Literary Studies in English (USP); Post-doctoral researcher (UFSC). Visiting fellow at: University College Dublin; University of Galway; Trinity College Dublin. Member of the Ulysses Council at MoLI – Museum of Literature Ireland; executive member of The International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures; director of Cia Ludens; former director of the Brazilian Association of Irish Studies.