During the Brazilian dictatorship more than 50,000 people were sent to jail,
and over 400 died or disappeared, according to the Dossiê ditadura: Mortos
e desaparecidos políticos no Brasil (1964–1985) (Dossier Dictatorship: Politi-
cal Deaths and Disappearances in Brazil [1964–1985]), an ongoing project
organized by the families of the victims of the military regime.1 Nothing
can be more appalling and repulsive than the stories told by the relatives
of the victims and by the witnesses of the violence imposed on those who
were considered political opponents of the regime. It was truly the harshest
period in modern Brazilian history, a time of untold fears and unspeakable
horrors. So while the works of art discussed in this book came out of a genu-
ine desire to resist, provoke, or denounce the regime, it would be absurd to
credit the dictatorship with having had a predominantly stimulating effect
on the artistic production of the time. There is no telling what buds of artis-
tic ingenuity might have blossomed if not for the fear of repression, or what
international trends might have been adopted and made great if not for the
country’s seclusion under military rule. The artists discussed in this book
harnessed their creativity and ingenuity to address the repressive policies of
the regime, but their creativity did not come out of the regime itself—they
Conclusion: Opening the Wounds, Longing for Closure
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