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Christian Larsen
Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Arts and Design

“Of Figas, Amulets, and Joias de Crioula: Tracing the Hybrid Origins of Afro-Brazilian Style”

This lecture presents work begun as a chapter of my dissertation and continuing as the subject of a forthcoming exhibition. It focuses on ancient amulets circulated in the Mediterranean as protections against envy, or the evil eye. The lecture focuses on the figa and iterations thereof, including predecessors and contemporaneous amulets sourced and found in Egypt, Greece, Rome, North Africa, and the Iberian continent, from where Spanish and Portuguese colonization brought the figa to the New World. While archeological digs have traced figas as far flung as Florida and the Caribbean Basin down to Brazil, it is only in Brazil where the popular use of figas endures today, transformed into an icon of Afro-Brazilian identity.

Tuesday, October 27, 12:15 pm

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A Zoom link will be circulated the morning of the talk.