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Still from Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca’s Swinguerra (2019) in the Brazilian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Still from Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca’s Swinguerra (2019) in the Brazilian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Courtesy of Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin deBurca/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Pursuits
Businessweek

Old-Fashioned Patriotism Pops Up in Contemporary Art’s Front Yard

At the Venice Biennale this year, artists from around the world are reflecting the growing groundswell of nationalism.

In this year’s Brazilian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the artists Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca have created a 20-­minute video celebrating swingueira, a wildly popular dance movement from the country’s northeast. Triumphant electronic music thumps insistently while projectors show teams of mostly black, gender-­nonbinary dancers in elaborate choreographed routines they organized themselves. People in revealing outfits stare calmly into the camera as they jump and lunge in a vivid demonstration of their autonomy and power.

In one performance, a woman leads a troupe as they bounce across what appears to be a beach. In another, a group salutes in front of a massive Brazilian flag.