João Câmara Filho was born in João Pessoa, Paraíba, on 12 January 1944, to João Landelino Dornelas Câmara Neto and Noemia de Araújo Câmara.
He lived in João Pessoa until he was nine, moving with his family to Rio de Janeiro, where he stayed until 1954. He lived in the neighbourhoods of Grajaú and then Niterói, where he attended school at Educandário Marília Matoso.
He returned to the Northeast, settling in Recife. He did his secondary eduction at the high-schools Colégio Salesiano and Colégio Nóbrega. At this time, he made copies of caricatures and frequented the house of the painter Jorge Tavares, from him he received his first instructions on oil painting.
From 1960 to 1963 he did the ‘Curso Livre’ (Free Course) in the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), in Recife, where he was the student of Laerte Baldini and Fernando Barreto and informally received instruction from Vicente do Rego Monteiro.
He set up his first workshop in 1962, in a boarding house on João de Barros St, later moving it to dos Coelhos St, beginning to participate in art shows.
He received the 1st Prize for painting and the 2nd Prize for drawing at the University Art Show of Belo Horizonte, in 1962, and the 1st Prize for painting at the Pernambuco Art Show in the same year.
In 1963, he gave his first individual exposition of drawings at the Contemporary Art Gallery of the Federal University of Paraíba. He worked with various newspapers and wrote an art column in the Recife newspaper Última Hora, as well as having a show on UFPE’s Rádio Universitária.
In 1966, together with the artists Anchises, Delano and Maria Carmen, he founded Ateliê + 10 (+10 Workshop) in Olinda, Pernambuco, and participated in the 3rd International Biennial of Córdoba, in Argentina, where he received the prize (gold plaque) of the Industrial Association of Córdoba.
He graduated in Psychology from the Universidade Católica de Pernambuco in 1968.
The majority of his work is oil paint on canvass. His paintings make up part of the archives in national and international galleries and museums, such as the Pernambuco State Museum, the University of São Paulo Museum of Contemporary Art the São Paulo State Pinacoteca, the Recife Metropolitan Art Gallery, the Brasília Museum of Art, the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art, the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art, the Toronto Museum of Art, in Canada, and others.
In 1974, through his initiative and with collaboration of a group of sculptor, he created the Oficina Guaianases de Gravura.
Thematic series are on of the characteristics of his work. The first and most famous is Cenas da Vida Brasileira, 1930-1954 (Scenes of Brazilian Life, 1930-1954) (ten panels and one hundred lithographs), from 1976. Another important series is Dez Casos de Amor e uma Pintura de Câmara (Ten Love Affairs and a House Painting), begun in 1977 and finished in 1983.
In 1986 he completed the panel Inconfidência Mineira (Minas Gerais Conspiracy), with 21 metres in length by four metres in height, in acrylic on canvas for the Panteão Nacional (National Pantheon).
Nationally and internationally recognised, he has participated in dozens of art shows, biennials and given many individual exhibitions in the country and abroad, such as the Mostra João Câmara, at the Maison de L’Amerique Latine, Paris in 1993/1994.
João Câmara Filho lives and works in Olinda, Pernambuco.
Recife, 10 August 2004.
(Updated on 28 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.
MORAIS, Frederico. Nota biográfica. In: CENAS da vida brasileira, 1930/1954: 10 pinturas e 100 litografias de João Câmara Filho. Recife: Prefeitura; Fundação Roberto Marinho; Grupo Othon, 1980. p. 40-42.
O OLHO de João Câmara sobre as cidades. Continente Multicultural, Recife, ano 1, n. 0, p. 16-47, dez. 2000
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. João Câmara. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.