Three Monks and Monk in Doorway, Double-Sided Woodblock
Brazil, c. 1964
12 x 10 in (30 x 25 cm)
Original woodblock by Brazilian artist Joaquim Pedro Ribeiro Araujo. This handcrafted woodblock is a plate Joaquim used to make his prints. This particular one is double-sided, and we also offer prints of these woodblocks in our store. One side shows a group of three monks—Joaquim traveled throughout Asia while he was carving his woodblocks, and the Buddhist influence is present in many of his works. The other side shows a single monk standing before a doorway. Joaquim was known to focus on spiritual themes in his artwork, and the inclusion of the doorway is a likely symbol for spiritual journeys and transformations. The rough wood carvings in these two pieces lend the designs a degree of texture and depth that the two-dimensional prints could not achieve on their own.
Joaquim Pedro Ribeiro Araujo was a Brazilian artist prominent in the 1960s. He worked with a wide variety of mediums including oils, tempera, ink, and woodblocks. Joaquim surrounded himself with fellow avant-garde artists of the time, including Brazilian modern artists Amilcar de Castro and Helio Oiticica. He studied art in Sao Paulo before moving to Japan where he was introduced to woodblock prints, by which he was greatly inspired. He spent a lot of time in Asia, moving to Bangkok, Thailand, where he started writing opinion pieces for the Bangkok World, climbing the art world ladder. He released his manifesto which focused on the concept of ephemerality—he believed that values are inadequate because time is always changing, therefore one should follow their own beliefs. Opposed to everything popular, Joaquim wanted to challenge the status quo and break the beatnik artist stereotype saying, “my paintings are not just for decoration in the living room. I paint to create a universe.” His works are centered around people he saw in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Pakistan, all places where he held well-received exhibitions. He became the first South American to exhibit in Southeast Asia and the first Brazilian to exhibit in Pakistan. Though Joaquim’s works were visually bizarre at times or difficult to grasp, it was hard to critique a man who held such powerful faith in his own work and believed that nothing is unchangeable, even woodblock pieces.
Artist: Joaquim Pedro Ribeiro Araujo
Material: Woodblock prints
Year: c. 1964