Flávio Gadêlha is a Brazilian painter, engraver, sculptor, and conservator. Growing up in front of a psychiatric hospital in the countryside of Brazil, he was influenced to create a series of paintings on what it meant to live in fear of losing one’s mind, a collection which went on to win an award in Rio de Janeiro, 1982. After surviving a heart-attack in his late twenties, Flávio turned to a more intimate depiction of human existence (and extinction) through the medium of portrait painting. His pieces address sexuality, mental health, Brazil’s oppressive colonial past and modern-day threats to natural resources. And now his latest collection focuses on the native tribes of the Amazon. These works celebrate the life and beauty of their subjects amidst such chaos and strife; portraits of indigenous youths, mothers, warriors, men, women and children who are just as threatened by wildlife extinction as they are by socio-political neglect and ostracisation.
At sixteen-years-old he was the youngest artist at São Paulo’s Biennial of 74. Throughout his career he has had pieces exhibited around the world (Mallorca, Georgia, Barcelona). He has also worked as a conservator including at the Centro de Restauración de Bienes Muebles de Catalunya. Most recently one of his portraits was long listed for the BP Portrait Award 2020.