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Arthur Bispo do Rosário 1909-1989

Arthur Bispo do Rosário was born in northeastern Brazil in a region populated by the descendants of African slaves. He left home at age 15 and entered the Brazilian navy, but he was discharged from military service for insubordination. In 1933, Bispo do Rosário moved to Río de Janeiro and a few years later, according to legend, entered a monastery and declared that he had come to judge the living and the dead. 


That experience supposedly led him to believe his mission was to create the world in a form he could present to God for redemption on Judgment Day. Bispo do Rosário was arrested and hospitalised. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he spent the next 50 years in the Colônia Juliano Moreira Hospital.

There, aided by fellow patients, hospital staffers and even rubbish collectors, he gathered cast-off objects. He created sculptures and hand-embroidered textiles using his found materials – buttons, car tyres, rolling pins, string, clothes, tin cans and more. Bispo do Rosário believed he was a medium for the divine and treated his gift with reverence and discretion, showing his art only to trusted friends. After his death, his work was publicly exhibited for the first time. It was prominently featured in the main exhibition of the 2013 Venice Biennale.


Image: Arthur Bispo do Rosário, Vestment – i came 12.22.1938 midnight, n.d., Bispo do Rosário Museum, Rio de Janeiro. 


Image: Arthur Bispo do Rosário, Vestment – luctas 1938 1982, n.d., Bispo do Rosário Museum, Rio de Janeiro.



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