Ratio; Tarsila: The Woman Who Changed Brazil

By Anweshak Tejendra

Born in 1886 to a family of coffee farmers, late Tarsila do Amaral found her calling in a completely different world. She studied sculpture and drawing, before moving to Paris’ Academie Julian, where she studied alongside other well-known artists.

It was in Paris that she discovered her affinity towards vibrant colours and developed her signature style of capturing landscapes. Tarsila was a woman of many talents, such as writing and playing the piano, but she is best remembered for her revolutionary painting.

“I want to be the painter of my country,” Tarsila said once. Many consider her to be just that as her artwork played a huge hand in Brazil finding its identity. Her emphasis on native themes and unique style encouraged Brazil to develop its own form of modernist art and avoid being influenced by other nations’ art styles.

As a homage to the revolutionary artist, one of the most popular flip-flop brands in the world, Havaianas, has launched three models with some of the most famous works of Tarsila etched onto them.


 Flip flops featuring Tarsila’s painting Postcard

The artworks:

A Cuca: Tarsila painted this in early 1924. It takes inspiration from the ‘legend of Cuca’ is based on an ugly old woman who takes the form of an alligator and steals away disobedient children.

45772753715_86bf66ddb4_bA Cuca

Postcard: Crafted in 1929, this artwork portrays the city of Rio de Janeiro. There is an emphasis on the mountainous landscape and the wildlife of native Brazil.

Tarsila do Amaral, Postcard, 1929 11/12/17 #artinstitutechi #art


Anthropophagy: This was inspired by the philosophy of ‘cultural cannibalism’ which was developed by Tarsila’s husband; Oswald de Andrade. According to it, Brazil had a history of “cannibalizing” other cultures to create something new, which was its greatest strength.

Havaianas has a history of taking inspiration from eminent Brazilian artists, Naia Ceschin, and street artists Chivitz and Minhau for example. Now, they’re successfully continuing the ‘tradition’ with Tarsila.

Havaianas has produced 3 top models featuring the works of Tarsila do Amaral

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