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Maxwell Alexandre Sam Art Projects Residency

Born to a Catholic family in Rocinha, one of the largest favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Maxwell Alexandre sees painting as a “prophetic practice”. Through his huge political compositions, the heritage of classical European painting encounters that of muralism or street painting: he then remixes these references to the jolting rhythms of hip-hop, chiming with the current situation of a tense Brazil.


In scenes of confrontations with the police, gleaming gold chains, heaps of dollars, symbols linked to football or the church, Maxwell Alexandre unveils chaotic mappings and targets the complexity of life in Rio de Janeiro. In these landscapes with unfinished faces, bodies move, dance and collide.


Such everyday scenes (of the artist and of his community) mingle with icons of popular culture (black Power Rangers), signs of advertising, the logos of popular brands (Danone and its staple dairy products, Capri and its plastic inflatable swimming pools which thrive on the roof-terraces of favelas), and run into iconic figures (the rappers Biggie and Tupac before they wanted to kill each other, Jean Michel Basquiat, Jay-Z and Beyoncé going along to the Louvre for a clip, or political personalities such as Marielle Franco, a black lesbian militant assassinated in 2019…). In this way, Maxwell Alexandre paints Afro-Brazilians in a powerful, liberated manner, on a background of the American dream.


Curator: Hugo Vitrani


This exhibition benefits from the support of:



From 19/06/2020 to 13/09/2020 



“You sometimes have to hit racism head on, but I’m not brave enough to hit anyone physically, so I do it in my painting”.

Maxwell Alexandre

A former professional roller-skater, Maxwell Alexandre graduated from the PUC-RJ (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) in 2016. He organised his artistic baptism in 2018 during his first exhibition mingling painting and performances, with the rapper BK acting as priest for the ceremony. The artist has also co-founded a “Church of the Kingdom of Art” (also called “A Noiva”, or “The Bride”), supporting alternative Brazilian creation. HIs work has entered the collections of the Pinacotheca de São Paulo, the MASP (Art Museum of São Paulo) and the MAR (Art Museum of Rio). Maxwell Alexandre was in residency at the Delfina Foundation (London, 2018) then at MAC Lyon (2019).