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rogério duarte

rogério duarte


The graphic designer, musician, composer, poet, translator and professor Rogério Duarte was born in Ubaíra, a town in the inland of the state of Bahia in 1939. In the early 60’s, this nephew of sociologist Anísio Teixeira was sent to Rio de Janeiro to study industrial art, where he studied under Max Bense (the founder of a new aesthetics based on semiotics and information-theory).

a cultura, a civilização
só me interessam enquanto
sirvam de alimento,
enquanto sarro,
prato suculento, dica, pala,
Gilberto Gil e Rogério Duarte

Later, when he was already working as a designer, Duarte created – among a number of others – the posters of the films Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (Black God, White Devil) and Idade da Terra (The Age of the Earth), by director Glauber Rocha, a friend of his. Duarte was an intellectual mentor of Tropicalism and the cover designer of the movement’s most important albums. He also co-wrote songs with Gil and Caetano and produced the album covers for other great names in Brazilian Popular Music, such as Gal, João Gilberto and Jorge Ben.

As a composer, Rogério Duarte wrote the music for Idade da Terra; as a left-wing political militant in the 60’s, the artist was arrested, tortured, and spent time in psychiatric institutions. Rogério became a Hindu the following decade, learned Sanskrit and translated the Baghavad Gita in verse. The book, named Canção do Divino Mestre, was published in 1998, and was accompanied by a CD with parts of the text set to music and recorded by MPB artists like Gil, Gal, Tom Zé, Chico César, Lenine, Arnaldo Antunes and Elba Ramalho.

In 2003, the book Tropicaos, with Rogério’s written work, was published reviving his role as one of the great theorists of the history of design in Brazil, and adding a new dimension to his image. In the past few years, Rogério has focused on teaching his university classes, on furthering his study of music and on Hinduism.