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The Celso Furtado Exhibition: A Northeast vocation

The Celso Furtado Exhibition: A Northeast vocation looks at one of the most important periods of national political life and of Brazil`s Northeast region: namely the period between 1958 and 1964.  At that time, Brazil was in the process of advancing in its own industrialization and modernization. The JK government at the time was implementing “50 years in 5”, it was building the capital. Brasilia, and creating Sudene. Sudene was the cornerstone of policy to develop the Northeast, until then considered an area of inclement weather conditions, whose main solution was to deal with its problem of droughts. Thanks to the inspiration of the economist Celso Furtado, a broad project of directives for the Northeast was developed, incorporating technical-administrative rationale, planning, industrialization and social dimensions.  

In the Northeast, Peasant Leagues were making themselves heard. In Latin America, the Cuban Revolution was pointing in a different direction to that of capitalism. The US government, concerned with the course of political radicalism, was proposing the Alliance for Progress, an initiative with a strong bias towards the Cold War. In Brazil, following the election and then resignation of presidente Jânio Quadros, came the government of João Goulart, with Basic Reforms as part of its platform. The authoritarian-military outcome that resulted in the Coup of March 31st, 1964 did not, however, prevent the proposal of a differentiated policy for the Northeast from going ahead. The creative force of Celso Furtado`s thinking, his theoretical reflections of under-development, his political activities to overcome poverty, inequality and social injustice, continue to have an impact to this day.

This exhibition is the result of documental research carried out by the Federal University of Pernambuco`s Regional & Development Studies Nucleus, under the auspices of professor Marcos Costa Lima, at the request of the International Celso Furtado Center. Using an original display of photographs from Celso Furtado`s personal collection, and newspaper clippings of the time, the twenty panels retrace the turbulence of these years of great change for the Northeast and of great hopes for Brazil.    


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