Mariola Alvarez

Wolf Humanities Center Regional Fellow

20212022 Forum on Migration

Mariola Alvarez

Assistant Professor of Art History, Temple University

Mariola V. Alvarez is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. She researches and writes about modern and contemporary Latin American art with a focus on Brazilian art history and the history of abstract art in the postwar period. Her first book studies the Rio de Janeiro-based Neoconcrete art and poetry group through an interdisciplinary methodology. She co-edited New Geographies of Abstract Art in Postwar Latin America (Routledge, 2019), which expanded the field beyond the traditional artists and national histories. Her essay for that publication examined the art of the Japanese diaspora in São Paulo and the global connections in the development of postwar abstract art, the subject of her second book project. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar award to conduct research in Brazil in 2022. Alvarez received her PhD in Art History from the University of California, San Diego in 2012.

Becoming Brazilian: Immigrant Artists’ Groups in São Paulo

The largest Japanese population outside of Japan lives in Brazil. This history of migration, from the turn of the century, was the result of multiple factors: the abolition of slavery in Brazil; the increasing population in Japan; and the passage of laws in the United States prohibiting migration from East Asian countries. My project studies the Japanese diaspora’s artistic community in Brazil and their contributions to the history of modern art. My research would result in a scholarly book that presents the study of Japanese Brazilian art as an expansion of what is currently defined as “Latin American” art and as an example of the interconnectivity of postwar global cultural production. During the fellowship I will write chapter 1 that addresses the formation of immigrant artists’ groups in the city of São Paulo, therefore considering how migration impacted the category of national art.