Magic realism does have a strong equivalent in illustration. If magic realism is the possibility of inter-penetration between reality and fiction, or the interaction between a so-called fiction approximated to reality, and another, let’s say, ‘sobrenatural’, then images and words are equally inter-penetrable.
[Dorival Caymmi, the well-known composer of É doce morrer no mar, and many anthologised songs of Carmen Miranda wanted to be a professional illustrator, but one publisher in Rio de Janeiro told him: just forget it, in this country only soccer players or musicians have a future.]
I was born in the middle of such a diverse ambience, and those experimental artists are still making it possible for me to be surprised. Growing up in a Brasilia planned by some of these artist’s companions, I got to read more through their wordless visual poetry, more from these artists’ images in books or in the outside world, than through the words themselves. Throughout the extended shadow of the dictatorial military regime from the 1970s on, this was also the only possible voice for me as a narrative author. It made me slowly chart my own ways, plot my own shapes and my own palette, incorporating ferocious neon colours to expand the dialogue with such references. This added contemporaneity and danger to their background and also, let’s say, to a kind of forgotten visual past, an ancestral past, from long before the time of the arrival of Europeans in this continent. On the other hand, depicting an extreme, wild, naturally based and boldly saturated coloured Brazil, with lower-class day-to-day people’s life would seem to some snobbish artists or critics, too naïf or ‘folkloric’. Meaning what? Meaning nothing, I might say; it would be like a body without organs, pretending to privilege the content instead of the shape.
Carybé – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carybé
Calasans Netu – enciclopedia.itaucultural.org.br/pessoa5547/calasans-neto
Pierre Vergé – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Verge