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L’Institut d’Histoire et de Géographie de Maranhão : Charles Martin


Momentos Ópticos atuais (Current Optical Moments….) & São Luís do Maranhão, 1982 is an exhibition of 28 photographs by Charles Martin presented at The Institute of History and Geography of Maranhão in Brasil.

Current Optical Moments
Clouds, natural light and reflections, usually on glass, are the elements up this group of views and panoramas. The observer is invited to reflect, to daydream. The interest in reflections came about, perhaps, in the hours and hours spent as a child in front of my father’s aquariums. The photos here were taken in New York, with the exception of one taken in São Paulo.

São Luís do Maranhão, 1982
These are photos of people and places encountered when I visited São Luís do Maranhão in 1982 making my first trip to Brazil–ten weeks on a fellowship to study examples of Afro-Brazilian culture, particularly in literature. After arriving in Rio de Janeiro, I began to hear mentions of Maranhão as a place of concentration of culture and also as a center of reggae music. Some people from Maranhão encouraged me to visit their land, and when I did, São Luís gave me some fine experiences. One of them was to one day bump into José Nascimento Morais Filho, and through him be led to a copy at the Benedito Leite Library of the facsimile edition of the novel Úrsula by Maria Firmina dos Reis.
Charles Martin


Charles Martin is a photographer, filmmaker and professor. He wrote the prologue to the 1988 edition of the novel, Úrsula (Rio de Janeiro: Presença Edições), by Maria Firmina dos Reis. He served as Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Queens College-City University of New York from 2006-2010 and, in 1992, taught the Extension Course: “Roots: Utopia, Imaginary and Identity in Black Populations,” at the Federal University of Mato Grosso Grosso, Institute of Human and Social Sciences, Cuiabá, Brazil. He also taught at Brown University, and earlier was a journalist writing at the Philadelphia Bulletin and the New London Day, and editing The Scene (newsletter of the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center). He has contributed articles—some from his series, Caption to the Visual—and poetry and photography to various journals—both print and on-line. He received a BA in English (1974) and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese (1988) from Yale University. From the Philadelphia area, he is fluent in Portuguese and French. The Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Maranhão has honored him with nomination and election to Sócio Correspondente.


Charles Martin : Current Optical Moments & São Luís do Maranhão, 1982
March 16-18, 2023
The Historical and Artistic Museum of Maranhão
Rua do Sol, 302 – Centro
São Luís – Maranhão- Brasil
Entrada pela Rua São João

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