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Fuzuê! Invention & Imagination in the Art of Roger Mello

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents Fuzuê! Invention & Imagination in the Art of Roger Mello, on view from June 16, 2024, through January 5, 2025. It will be the first exhibition in the United States for the Brazilian artist, who won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award—the highest international honor for picture book illustration—in 2014.

The exhibition title, Fuzuê, comes from a Portuguese expression that captures a uniquely Brazilian sense of playful commotion. Mello’s art embodies that spirit, as he invites readers to have fun and embrace the chaos of the world, but to also engage in reflection and acts of care. He takes inspiration from Brazilian visual culture and global folk art, and his illustrative style ranges from bold, contrasting two-color linework to detailed graphic renditions and highly textured collages. Mello particularly shines as a chronicler of the natural world.

“Brazilian artist and writer Roger Mello is an artist who knows no boundaries,” says executive director Jennifer Schantz.  “His studio is the world around him which is why this exhibition is so perfect for The Carle, the champion of picture book art from around the globe.”

“We’re excited to welcome an international artist of Roger’s caliber to The Carle,” says Isabel Ruiz Cano, assistant curator. “His inventiveness with the book form drew us to his work. He created, for example, an accordion book with a center die-cut in Lemon Butterfly and flame-shaped pages in Charcoal Boys.”

Working in a diversity of styles, Mello crafts each artwork to scale, incorporating story elements into decorative endpapers, cutouts, and double-page spreads. He travels extensively for work and inspiration. When asked about the location of his studio, he laughs and says it’s all around the world. His studio may be a kitchen table in Brasilia, a hotel room desk in Korea, or the floor of a friend’s house in Chicago. He often uses housepaint for his art because it is vibrant and easily found in hardware stores around the world.

“Roger is also a playwright,” says Ruiz Cano. “It speaks to how he engages in storytelling in all its forms. We are eager to introduce him to our audience and celebrate the launch of his book, Griso: The One and Only, in English translation later this year.”

Mello shifts styles to complement different narratives. He introduces readers to a colorful cast of characters in You Can’t Be Too Careful!, one of his earliest picture books. He employs delicate linework in João by a Thread, blazing neon colors in Charcoal Boys, and plastic bag collage in Meninos do Mangue. Most evident is his inherent appreciation for nature. He populates his art with flora and fauna from around the globe and even collages plant specimens into some illustrations, as he did in Jardins. In Feather, he paints vivid renditions of birds, like cranes and flamingos, and positions them within the book’s long horizontal format.

Guests to the exhibition can enjoy original art from 12 picture books, including yet-to-be-published titles. A collection of book dummies, sculptures, and prints will provide insight into Mello’s multi-faceted creative process. The introductory panel and section labels will be translated in Portuguese. Guests are invited to contribute to a collaborative art installation taking inspiration from the waterways and nature featured in Mello’s art.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Garcia Family Foundation. 

 

The written Garcia Family Foundation logo

Carle Residency

The Carle will host Mello for a week-long residency in October 2024. He will lead workshops for visitors and school groups and will present the museum’s annual Educator’s Night lecture. The English translation of his book Griso: The One and Only, published by Elsewhere Editions, will be released during his visit. The exhibition and residency will provide an important opportunity to share the voice of a leading global innovator.

About Roger Mello

Roger Mello has illustrated over 100 titles—22 of which he also wrote—and his unique style and adroit sense of color continues to push the boundaries of children’s book illustration.  Mello has won numerous awards for writing and illustrating, including three of IBBY’s Luis Jardim Awards, the Best Children’s Book 2002 International Award, and the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award. In 2018, You Can’t Be Too Careful! was named a Batchelder Honor Book by the American Library Association.

About The Museum

Co-founded by Eric and Barbara Carle in 2002, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the international champion of picture book art. Situated on 7.5 acres in Amherst, Massachusetts, The Carle houses a rich and deep collection of art, and illuminates its collection through exhibitions, education, programming, and art-making—making it a critical resource for picture book artists and authors, and art-loving communities locally, nationally, and abroad. The Carle’s mission is to elevate picture book art and inspire a love of art, art creation, and reading. Since opening its doors more than 20 years ago, The Carle has welcomed more than one million visitors—plus more than four million additional museum-goers who have enjoyed its touring exhibitions around the world.   

The Carle’s permanent collection includes over 9,000 works of art by over 300 artists. The art in the permanent collection dates from the late 19th century to the present and consists primarily of works on paper, including significant holdings by artists Ashley Bryan, Remy Charlip, Antonio Frasconi, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, Petra Mathers, Alice Bolam Preston, William Steig, Susanne Suba, Simms Taback, and Leonard Weisgard. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and master’s degree programs in children’s literature in partnership with Simmons University.   

 More than 2,500+ students, educators, and librarians participate in The Carle’s youth outreach and professional development programs per year, and The Carle Community Fund, which launched in 2019, covers Museum admission for low-income families, field trip fees for schoolchildren at Title One Schools, and professional development fees for early childhood educators and Title One school teachers and librarians. For online visitors, the Museum offers a wealth of digital resources, including art activities, book lists, collections art, exhibition videos, and workshops.   

Every year, The Carle’s exhibitions travel to museums in the US and abroad, including cities in New York, Texas, Michigan, and Iowa, as well as internationally in Japan, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan, ensuring museums everywhere can introduce new audiences to the joy of picture book art. The Museum offers digital resources, including art activities, book recommendations, collections, exhibition videos, and workshops for online visitors. Learn more at www.carlemuseum.org and on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram @CarleMuseum.     

Explore Further
Current Exhibition
June 16, 2024 - January 5, 2025

See what all the fuzuê is about! 

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Enjoy an extra special evening at The Carle with art, music, dancing, and food!

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Create your own colorful book with materials inspired by the art of Roger Mello!

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Guest speaker Roger Mello presents the 2024 Educators’ Night talk.