Artist Statement

Since 1991 I have used photography as the vehicle for discourses on sexuality. Beginning with the sex and money project, the metaphoric images of gogo dancers with cash belts were used to posit a bridge between the viewer, the concept of sexuality and it's relation to money. Next in the book Prometheus, the topic transposes to sexuality and racism. I redirect the Greek myth of the creation of man from the Caucasus to his known anthropological origins in Africa. By producing sensuous portraits of African-American men, I aimed to modulate the cultural image of both God and creation from the white marble to the black skin. The trilogy on sexuality will close with a book on the topic of Sex and Power which I'm working on.
Certain that if art has the power to liberate people of their prejudices, I believe that self-awareness requires the analysis of sexuality. Sex has to be understood and not just looked at as tabu material or as a commodity , objectified and but not really discussed. It's time to grow up, to be able to talk openly about ourselves without fear of being labeled and dismissed.
Lately I've been questioning the transformative power of art versus direct engagement on social issues that matters to me. So in parallel to working on my new book, I've became very much evolved with ACT UP NY. Activism, like photography can produce instant gratification. Well perhaps not instant like a digital image, but you can see the transformation happening pretty quick.
While my art work deals with sexuality the community work on HIV with ACT UP seems like a perfect fit to me, and regardless of which way of operating is more successful both fulfill a desire of being present and trying to change things for the better.
Thanks for reading and visiting my page on Absolute Arts.

Marcelo Maia
NYC May 30, 2015

Artist Exhibitions

A Bofetada. Solo show. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 1990.
ICP graduation exhibit. Group show. Ledel Gallery. NYC, 1991.
Sex & Money. Solo show. Wonderbar, NYC, 1992.
Photography exhibit. Group show. Leslie Lohman Gallery, NYC, 1993
Queer bodies. Group show, Evergreen State College. Olympia, WA, 1993.
Photography exhibitGroup show, Leslie Lohman Gallery. NYC, 1994.
AIDS Arts Show. Group show. Boston Center for the Arts (BOCA). Boston, MA, 1996.
Home is Where the Heart is. Group show. White Columns Gallery, NYC, 1997.
Sex & Money. Solo show. Phoenix Lounge, NYC, 1999.
Fall Landscapes. Solo show. Milford, PA, 2002 .
Viridian Artists XIIITH Annual Juried Exhibition. Group Show Winner. NYC, 2002....

Artist Publications

On the August 2002 issue of Australian's Blue Magazine, David Mills writes:
" Blackout - Marcelo Maia's subjects star in their own film noir.
The Subjects in Marcelo Maia's portraits are not to be ogled. When their faces are depicted, the models frequently return the gaze of the viewer - not challengingly, not subserviently; not even smirkingly, like the over confident subjects of so many homoerotic nude studies. Their gaze is even and direct, and somewhat serious. The effect is almost unnerving..." editorial review.
"Brazilian photographer Marcelo Maia's new collection Prometheus is a fine, bold collection of nude studies of African American men. In a short introduction Maia frames this collection in political terms, discussing the importance of skin color in racism and a whole host of other injustices, but the photos speak for themselves. Lyrical, moving, and dramatically composed, Maia's work challenges the standard cultural expectations to which African American nudes have been held. Beautifully produced, Prometheus is a fine collection by a noted gay artist."


Artist Collections

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York, USA
The Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, New York, New York, USA...

Artist Favorites