Gianlluca Carneiro and artistic education as a collective

by | November 22, 2022

How to learn about art? This somewhat subjective issue is addressed by one of the newest artists to join Coletivo Amarelo, Gianlluca Carneiro. The Brazilian artist and teacher is directly involved with citizenship and ethics projects, and within the classroom, he has found ways to introduce his students to politics through education through art.

Meet Gianlluca Carneiro and his vision on art education

In his portfolio, Gianlluca shares a bit of his story. Born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the visual artist is also a history teacher at the municipal network of Cariacica, in Espírito Santo. In addition, Gianlluca holds a Bachelor of Laws and studied art and education at CEFART in Belo Horizonte.

From a very early age, more precisely from the age of 6, Gianlluca demonstrated himself as an artist through painting. Since then, his career has spanned more than 20 years, taking his art to different exhibitions in Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Espírito Santo. Not to mention publications in nationally and internationally renowned magazines and exhibitions, such as his work “Humor Azul, Coração Azul” which was a finalist at the Doncaster Art Fair.

Gianlluca Carneiro calls his artistic universe Cabeça Vazia, a play on the popular saying “an empty head is the devil's workshop”. In his own words: “The important thing is that this empty head is full and busy producing works with colors, strokes and colorful and chaotic compositions always supported by criticism of political and social structures and the contemporary way of life”.

The contemporary artist is aligned with the most recent discussions present around the world. One of them is the importance of rethinking the current art education system.


documents 15

Documenta is one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in the world and takes place every five years in the city of Kassel, Germany. The exhibition was created in 1955 by Arnold Bode, in post-war Germany. Part of his motivation came from the need to return to the art that was banned by Nazism and to reintroduce the country to the latest international trends. Since then, the Documenta 15 exhibition has become a major institution in the art world.

In 2022, the 15th edition of the exhibition took place, curated by the ruangrupa collective from Jakarta, Indonesia. The collective based Documenta on the values and ideas of a very common term in Indonesia, lumbung, which means something like “community rice granary”. The idea of using this term as an artistic and economic model is based on principles such as collectivity, the joint construction of resources and their fair distribution.

In this edition, several points resonate and one of them dialogues directly with the art and the active positioning of Gianlluca Carneiro, which is to rethink the structures of contemporary artistic education. In the exhibition, this is translated from the idea of the collective and questions why we cannot learn from each other, breaking paradigms, such as the authority figure of the teacher?

This idea of transforming education is expressed in Documenta 15 through the art of *foundationClass, a collective formed in 2016 at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin (KHB). The collective emerged as an educational platform for art and a toolkit created to make life easier for immigrants who are affected by racism in Germany.

To delve into this concept of collective artistic education and get to know the artist better, Coletivo Amarelo held an interview with Gianlluca Carneiro. Read an excerpt from our conversation, which we opened with a speech by the artist that unifies all this thinking behind artistic education and this untapped potential.

Gianlluca: I see a lot of artistic potential among my students that is not so explored within the school and I, as a teacher and artist, try to bring that to them at all times. Bring what? Bring ideas to awaken something in them, demystify this idea that art is only in the museum, when in fact we make art all the time. And use it to debate politics

Yellow Collective: Are there obstacles within the school to bring these new models in? What is the resistance?

Gianlluca: The craziest thing about all of this is that I am part of a project called Ensina Brasil, aimed at areas of social vulnerability, and by coincidence I ended up in a school where there are military personnel. For a moment I thought this would be a hindrance, but I manage to bring the subject of politics in a deeper way, without superficial speeches and also without partisanship. But doing this using art even makes the process easier within the school, incredible as it may seem.

Yellow Collective: The figure of the teacher is a place of comfort, security, where “there are no dumb questions”, a less intimidating space… You, as a teacher, what advice would you give to those who want to start making art, learn more about art, but don’t do you know where to start or maybe you feel shy?

Gianlluca: Detachment from art sometimes comes from very complex languages, difficult for us to introduce people… I'll give you an example of something that happened to me this week. I had an art contest at school, I stressed that there would be a prize, but that it was not to encourage that aggressive competitiveness, but to stimulate creation.

A special education student of mine, he has a glass eye, low vision, and he won the drawing competition. It was a stand outside, his smile was something unbelievable. Another student, with very low self-esteem, won the painting contest, and she could never see what she was doing. Always saying that everything he did was shit*… This showed me once again that art is what we do in the most genuine way possible.

The way to start is indeed complicated, but today we have so many new forms, collectives like Coletivo Amarelo, alternative proposals, places that receive us more openly and that encourage us to do things. This is for those who are starting to make art, consume, live from it. As banal as it may be, the secret is to throw yourself in full.

Yellow Collective: What you said, about today having access to so many tools and information, sometimes scares too. Because maybe it makes the person a little bit without knowing where to start or without understanding where he fits into all of this... And we end up forgetting that artistic making is a time-consuming process, that it takes time, a really slow digestion. The artist's process of being reclusive there, “waiting for something” to happen, is extremely lonely at times and super confusing.

Gianlluca: It is a process that takes a long time. And we don't do it for a gallery, we do it because it has to be done. I'm a little crazy… I have my sketchbook, my doodles… and the ideas come, the colors, the shapes, and from them I experiment. Most of the time it doesn't get where I want it. There are layers that build up and, I'm not afraid, I don't plan too much, I'm more of an action person.

Exclusive works by Gianlluca are available in our store, check them out!