When artist Oscar Murillo arrived in Rio de Janeiro in September 2014 for his ten-day residency program during ArtRio, he was unsettled by the “quasicolonial” environment he encountered. Adopting a strategy both to survive and challenge the environment, Murillo put on a white jumpsuit uniform and joined the house staff in the residency program: he performed housekeeping activities such as cleaning and gardening; he cooked for the house staff and his coworkers every day throughout the ten-day period; and he gave a fifteen-minute talk, sharing his perspective on issues of race class in Brazil, during the cocktail reception hosted in his honor. By choosing to produce a performance piece that engaged with such concerns, Murillo aligned himself with a roster of contemporary Brazilian artists, whose works have been tackling similar issues through different media, including performance. Murillo’s response sheds new light on the rich yet little explored local black Brazilian art production.

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