By Claudia Eslava
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Brazilian artist Clovis Junior exhibited his work to the Valencia community on Thursday, March 19, at the Osceola campus. Junior was able to travel to the U.S. and exhibit his works on campus with the help of Valencia’s non-profit foundation.

Junior showcased his pieces to Valencia in order to present to the community a slice of Brazilian culture and beauty. Steven Cunningham, a professor here at Valencia, was responsible for bringing Junior to the U.S. and spoke of how a business trip to Brazil exposed him to Junior’s art over 15 years ago.

“I was on vacation in the capital city where he lives. I actually found one of his paintings in a gift shop and bought it there,” he said, “Then I heard he was having an exhibit so I went there and met him. Every time I went to his town, I went back to his home where he had his own studio so we became friends over the years.”

His interest in the culture drove him to learn the language. His passion for Junior’s art and their friendship allowed them to become good business partners.

“He really had a desire to come and exhibit in the U.S. and he wanted to do it in Orlando so we’ve always tried to find a way to get it funded,” Cunningham said.

The Valencia Foundation is an awardwinning, non-profit program, charted in 1974 to provide Valencia with financial assistance that cannot be met through student income or state-aid.

The Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership awards outstanding members of Valencia’s faculty with the resources needed for the advancement of learning. This is all possible trough the foundation’s investments which fund the majority of the program, but also trough private gifts or donations. This year, the Tupperware Foundation gave its support to the proposal that improved the quality of life in the community.

Cunningham’s proposal about art and its overall educational effect on the community won the vote and Junior’s dreams to exhibit in the U.S. became possible.

“So the faculty submits proposals [that] they choose from,” Cunningham said, “And this year my proposal was accepted to bring him here, since it had to do with improving the quality of life in the community.”

The event, which started with an exhibition at 6 p.m., had students and faculty buzzing not only about the artwork, but the Brazilian pastries being served as well. This being one more step taken to help students and faculty delve into the true culture of Brazil.

“It’s really great that this event is open to all the students and visitors for free,” said Louie Esquea, a student who attended the event, “It’s not often we have the opportunity to see the art from other countries much less to hear from the artist himself. And I really liked the food.”

At 7 p.m. a presentation was arranged so Junior could answer questions about his work and offer his thoughts and feelings behind every one of his paintings. When speaking about the passion behind his work, he was really speaking to those students who aspired to be artists.

“When I started painting, my family didn’t want me to because they told me I could not live from art,” said Clovis of his beginnings,.“My friend told me, that out of one thousand only one lives from art. So I said, I’m going to be that one out of a thousand. All that dedication and believing in what you do is what brings you success.”

The evening ended with Junior giving thanks for the opportunity to share his art with Valencia and his present thoughts with everyone who attended.

“This is a very important moment in my life, since we are here talking about art. Art has the power of uniting us, by bringing people together in thought,” he said during his ending speech after the presentation.

For those who missed the event, there will be one more chance to view his works at West campus on Thursday, March 26.

Click here to see some of the artwork featured at this event