Elian Almeida


acrylic paint and oil pastel on canvas
47 x 58 inches

When I was a teenager, I spent my days leafing through my sister’s Vogue magazines. I was curious and fascinated by these. However, I soon realized that there were never black people on the cover of Vogue Brazil, even though the majority of the Brazilian population is made up of them. – Elian Almeida

Brazilian artist Elian Almeida is part of a generation of artists recentering the forgotten histories of the African Diaspora, the black communities that are often marginalized in society and mainstream culture. Forgotten figures of Afro-Brazilian history take center stage in Almeida’s Vogue series, in which the artist studies the period and biography of his selected subject to recreate the look and feel of Vogue cover stories while staying true to the person. He describes the process as an archaeology of memory, and purposefully leaves the faces blank to allow anyone to connect to the people while also visualizing their concealment from history.

Though the subjects of this series are most often lesser-known people in Brazilian culture, Almeida also captures more famous figures, seen here with his depiction of Maya Angelou, sophisticated and poised, holding a glass of wine in front of her library. Almeida currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, and in Paris. His works have been exhibited in numerous group shows throughout Brazil.