My ceramic work is made for the Brazilian diaspora, the working class, and for all freedom fighters against capitalism. The doodles, speech bubbles, jokes, and patterns I scribble originate from old classroom notebooks, graffitied walls, and immigrant childhood memories. Portu-English, propaganda pottery, and people-centered slogans are my multi-lingual methods of communication. I sell, gift, and barter pots in hopes of promoting a class and cultural understanding of what I’ve lived and learned. Let’s pour a cup, discuss people power at the dinner table, and take our ideas to the streets!
Gustavo Tavares Barceloni (he/him) was born in Curitiba, Brazil and raised in the Greater Boston area. His illustrative tableware, installations, and community based projects are fueled by his lived experience with immigration, class, bilingualism, and political organizing.
Gustavo grew up working class and culturally conflicted. Seeing the hard work of his immigrant parents made him determined to succeed by turning his passion for clay into his career. In 2017, he graduated with a BFA in Ceramics at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. As an experienced high-end cook and lover of food memories, Gustavo merged culinary art with ceramic art to design unique tableware for restaurant settings and art events. He apprenticed, interned, and worked for various artists and studio spaces while advocating for more rigorous art business and creative professional education at MassArt. This helped result in new efforts by the school and faculty to survey student needs and provide new classes, resources, and programs for the student body.
Aching to articulate the complexities of living within the Brazilian diaspora, Gustavo researched Brazilian history, US imperialism, and surveys of Brazilian racial, ethnic, gendered, and cultural attitudes in Boston. This was an awakening in his sense of self. He used tableware to create and curate conversations on his community’s upbringing. He investigated other ways ceramics can be activated: as education, as a marker of history, as activism, and as community.
His love of sharing the medium led him to co-lead the student group Clay for Change with Vanessa Norris. Together they offered free local classes in Roxbury and Dorchester, hosted film screenings on art activism, and helped raise thousands of dollars organizing fundraisers such as the annual “Empty Bowls” events for the Haley House, an organization hosting programs such as affordable housing, a bakery café, and a soup kitchen. At MassArt, Gustavo also curated a multimedia art show, fundraiser, and open mic called Resistance Culture: An Art Show for Revolutionaries. As an alum, he spoke at the symposium, "Creative Counterpoints: Artists Translate Difference" articulating his creative path exploring transnational discomfort to an audience of art educators. His work has given opportunities for local youth, community members, and radical artists to express themselves, be supported, and learn from his practice.
In 2019, Gustavo obtained a Master of Education degree from UMass Boston and co-taught history to 6th graders as a student teacher in East Boston. He remains focused on spending his time furthering his knowledge and craft as an art activist and educator. Currently, Gustavo organizes with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a revolutionary organization by and for the working class, that seeks to collectively build the necessary power to secure a future free from capitalism.