Josely Carvalho is a multimedia artist, born in São Paulo and maintains studios in Rio de Janeiro and New York. In the last four decades, her artwork embraces several mediums and seeks to highlight memory, identity, women issues and social justice while consistently challenges frontiers between artist and public and art and politics.
Her present research - Diary of Smells - is an on-going cross-disciplinary series of works where olfaction, a powerful connector to memory and emotions, is a protagonist among other typically dominant components in contemporary art. The inclusion of the olfaction, one’s first and last experienced sense, results from her long examination of our basic need to be sheltered in a moment in which the sense of home/nest is threatened by war, migration, refugees, instability, pandemic and the destruction of the environment - our collective shelter.
In 2023, Josely received the Lee Krasner Award for Life Achievement from Pollock-Krasner Foundation on acknowledgement of a lifetime artistic achievement. It was the the first time a Brazilian artist has received this prestigious award in its history. In 2019, she received the International Art and Olfaction Sadakichi Award in experimental olfactory artwork category for her installation Glass Ceiling: Resilience presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art in São Paulo in 2018.
Among her latest exhibits highlights are: Within the Smells of History (2022), Museu Histórico Nacional, Rio de Janeiro; Diary of Smells: Anoxia (2019), Harvestworks, Governors Island, NY; Diary of Smells: Affectio (2019) at Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), Rio de Janeiro; Diary of Smells: Teto de Vidro (2018) at Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo – MAC-USP (Museum of Contemporary Art of São Paulo) and the group exhibition Radical Women: Latin American art 1960-1985 (2018) at Pinacoteca, São Paulo, Brooklyn Museum, NY (2018) and Hammer Museum, LA (2017).
Her work can be found in several museum’s collections as Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (Rio de Janeiro, BR), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, USA), Musem of Modern Art (MoMA), Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo (São Paulo, BR), Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville (Florida, USA) among others. One of her public works is Memorial Armênia at the Armenia subway station in São Paulo.
Among her grants are Lee Pollock-Krasner Foundation, 2022-2023, 2021-2022, 2016-2017; Frans Masereel Print Center, Kasterlee, Belgium, 2008; New York State Council for the Arts, 2001-2002; Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center Residency, 2001; Rockefeller Foundation`s Bellagio International Conference and Research Center Residency, Italy, 2000; New York Foundation for the Arts, 1999-2000; National Endowment for the Arts, 1995-1996; and Art Matters Inc., 1992-1993. Her pioneer internet project, Book of Roofs/ Livro das Telhas [www.bookofroofs.com], from 1999, has received grants and has been shown in multiple international venues.
Diary of Images, a monograph with color reproductions, poems by the artist and critical texts written by Lucy Lippard, Julia P. Herzberg, Ana Mae Barbosa, Ivo Mesquita, Paulo Herkenhoff, among others, was published by Contra Capa Editora of Rio de Janeiro in 2018.
Latest interviews for the website Futurist Scents written by sensorial art historian Caro Verbeek: When an Olfactory Artist Loses Her Sense of Smell – An Interview with Josely Carvalho on Dealing with Corona & for MDPI art journal written by Erina Duganne:
From the memory books of Josely Carvalho.