Pele Preta

 English artist, naturalized brazilian, Maureen Bisilliat remembers “Pele Preta”, her first essay, made 50 years ago.

Mediators: Christian Cravo, Adriana Cravo and Marcelo Reis

Maureen Bisilliat, photographer and documentarian, was awarded scholarships from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Tecnológico/CNPQ [the National Technology Development Council] (1981-87), the Amparo à Pesquisa/FAPESP foundation (1984-87), and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1970). She was born in England in 1931, and settled in Brazil in 1952. She began working in photography in 1962, and was a photojournalist for ten years for the magazines Realidade and 4Rodas. Her travels resulted in a photographic project tracing the "photographic equivalences" between the worlds of Euclides da Cunha, João Guimarães Rosa, Jorge Amado, Jorge de Lima, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Mário de Andrade and Adelia Prado, and this was later published as a book. In 2003, the Instituto Moreira Salles acquired her photographic collection, and in 2009, the book FOTOGRAFIAS/Maureen Bisilliat [PHOTOGRAPHS/ Maureen Bisilliat] was published to accompany her exhibition. The institute's interest in her work rekindled the author’s interest in her own work, particularly that which up until then had been languishing in the archives. She was awarded the Porto Seguro Photography Award, the order of Ipiranga, the Order of Cultural Merit, and the Order of Defence in 2010, all of which demonstrate the positive repercussions of this rediscovery. This was then followed by 9 years working with the editor Felipe Lafé in a quasi-archaeological quest for around 20TB of material recorded in a variety of media. The organisation and success of this work and documentaries are now part of the Maureen Bisilliat video archive at the Instituto Moreira Salles.