The Decolonial in art research in Brazil

Celina Nunes de Alcântara, Professor, associate editor, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Decolonial approaches have become an inescapable theme for research in arts (PALERMO, 2009), education, letters and all areas in the field of human sciences (MIGNOLO, 2015). By taking a new epistemological view, the decolonial not only claims postcolonial positions for the problems that afflict the contemporary world, but also, in doing so, inseparably evidences its direct implication with the violent construction of a power pattern established with the modern colonialism. In view of this, there is a growing expansion of studies that seek to give visibility and protagonism to voices excluded, marginalized and, above all, placed (not naively) historically and politically on hierarchically arranged edges, so that certain groups can speak to the detriment of others.

As the studies that focus on the theme propose, it is a matter of understanding – much more than colonialism itself (as the sovereignty of one people or one nation over another) – the effects and problems of coloniality, construction subalterization, invisibility, devaluation, denial and, to the limit, rejection of the other, non-Eurocentric.

The decolonial voices emerge, in fact, not from the hegemonic centers, but from the limits, from the peripheries, “attacking” the knowledge/ powers historically instituted by the long course of colonial imposition that we all were and are actors. It is, on the one hand, about the struggle for the recognition and geopolitical reconfiguration of other comprehension, other knowledge and other practices, distancing oneself from those that have been taken for a long time as true; and, on the other hand, of the concrete struggles directed at the construction of an ethos that can be sustained by other bases: by the cultural legitimization, by the strengthening of a counter-hegemonic rationality, by the theoretical (and therefore, political) production of narratives criticized by accountability subjection.

The contemporary scene, Education, theory, aesthetics, artistic poetics have not been indifferent to these issues. On the contrary, they have produced within the creation of pedagogy and thought many ruptures attributed to decolonial positions.

Therefore, one does not think only of a change from colonial to decolonial, but above all in the continuous and dynamic movement of repositioning, thus ensuring the multiplicity (and heterogeneity) of the practices that proliferate in the contemporary scene, in the studies and research, as already mentioned, that emerge in the areas of arts, education, literature and others.

In the video, Professor Celina Alcântara, our associate editor, comments on the articles that make up this special issue.


MIGNOLO, W. Habitar la frontera: sentir y pensar la descolonialidad (Antología, 1999-2014). Barcelona: CIDOB/Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 2015.

PALERMO, Z. Arte y estética en la encrucijada decolonial. Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2009.

To read the articles, access

Rev. Bras. Estud. Presença vol.8 no.4 Porto Alegre out./dez. 2018

External link

Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Presença – RBEP:

About Celina Nunes de Alcântara

Celina Nunes

Celina Nunes

Celina Nunes de Alcântara holds a PhD in Education from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and is a professor at the Postgraduate Program in Performing Arts at the same university. Her areas of expertise include Arts, with emphasis on training of the actor and Theater teacher, acting mainly in the following subjects: performance presentation, performance, and ethnic-racial relations, theater, and voice. e-mail:


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

ALCÂNTARA, C. N. The Decolonial in art research in Brazil [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2018 [viewed ]. Available from:


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