Carybé (1911 - 1997)


    Active from the late 1930s until the 1990s, the career of Julio Páride Bernabó spans years of change in the cultural life of Brazil. He was born in Argentina, lived in Italy from the age of sixth months to eight years, and acquired the nickname Carybé (a type of fish) after moving with his family to Rio de Janeiro in 1919. His training began in 1925 in the Rio ceramics studio of his older brother, and he went on to study at the city's Escola Nacional de Bellas Artes (1927-29).

    In 1929 Carybé changed his city of residence to Buenos Aires. While working on newspapers and journals in Argentina he continued to maintain a strong relationship with Brazil. In 1939 he illustrated the publication Macumba, Relatos de la Tierra Verde, and the following year he illustrated Macunaíma, by Mario de Andrade. Later (1943) he was to translate de Andrade's classic of Brazilian modernist literature into Spanish, for publication in Buenos Aires. The Almanaque Esso, designed in 1941, was his most commercially successful publication to date and gave him the financial freedom to spend a year travelling through Uruguay, Brazil and Bolivia before returning to Buenos Aires in 1942.

    While illustrating literary works in Argentina, Carybé made successive return visits to Brazil. In 1944 he spent a period in the North-eastern state of Bahia, learning the martial art/dance technique Capoeira and attending Candomblé ceremonies. In 1950 he moved to the city of Salvador in Bahia and, at the invitation of the state's Secretary of Education, produced wall-reliefs for the Centro Educacional Carneiro Ribeiro (Escola Parque). He became an active participant in the artistic life of Bahia, and this was a decisive factor for his subsequent naturalisation as a Brazilian citizen (1957).

    Carybé became an established figure in the practice of literary illustration, and his career was consistent and continuous. As well as illustrating the works of noted authors, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Amado and Pierre Verger, he authored and co-authored several books. After thirty years of research, his vast study Iconografia dos Deuses Africans no Candomblé da Bahia (Iconography of the African Gods of Bahian Candomblé) was published in 1981. Carybé worked well into the last decade of his life and died in Salvador, Bahia.

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