Adriana Varejo

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Inspired by 17th-century Spanish casta paintings (which categorized the racial combinations of ethnic groups colonized by Spain) and a 1976 Brazilian census, Rio de Janeiro-based artist Adriana Varejao continues her exploration of New World miscegenation with this latest series of paintings. For “Polvo,” Varejao developed a set of oil paints (also on view in a vitrine) to correspond with the ways census respondents described their own skin tone (e.g. “milky coffee,” “sun-kissed, “faded fawn”), and painted portraits of herself—all from the chest up, with the same placid expression and wearing a plain brown top—with various colorings native to modern-day Brazil.