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Art of Brazil on show

by Donald Eubank

Japan is hosting a carnival of events to celebrate 100 years of Japanese immigration to Brazil this year, but Jacqueline Montagu has been promoting ties between the South American nation and Asia for more than two decades.

A longtime collector of Brazilian art, the English-born Montagu arranged her first show in Hong Kong in 1985. It featured artists from 10 Latin American countries. Since then she has taken exhibitions from her adopted homeland of Brazil to Taipei, Shanghai, Seoul, Manila, Macau, Wellington and Tokyo in the hope of exposing its vibrant culture that many may miss while looking to the West.

Currently a guest of the Peruvian ambassador to Tokyo, Montagu is presenting “Brazilia through its Artists,” a show of paintings and drawings by renowned South American artists, at the City Club of Tokyo, next to the Canadian Embassy in Akasaka, until Oct. 24. While the works are small, the artists are top-notch, including: Ca^ndido Portinari (1903-62), a neorealist who became one of Brazil’s best-known 20th-century artists; Joa~o Henrique (b. 1935), a supreme colorist who paints lush vegetation and delicate birds; multitalented landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx (1909-94), whose bright meditations recall visual jazz; and Lia Mittarakis (1935-98), who did rhythmic, naive works, one of which was chosen for the cover of Time magazine when Brazil hosted the 1992 Earth Summit.

Not only is this a great opportunity to check out the swank City Club, which is usually only open to the diplomats and captains of industry who are its regular members (dress accordingly), but all the works are for sale. And even if you don’t pick up a piece of South American history for your living-room wall, at least you will have prepared yourself for the upcoming “Neotropicalia” exhibition of Brazilian art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (opening Oct. 22).

“Brazilia through its Artists” is showing until Oct. 24 at the City Club of Tokyo, Canada Place, B1F, 7-3-38 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo; For more information, call (03) 3401-1121 or visit www.cityclub.co.jp