Bárbara Quintino is an illustrator from Minas Gerais, Brazil, and passionate about pão de queijo or cheese bread. She took to the universe of colors and textures when she was a little girl, together with her stepfather—colored pencils, paper and crayons could be found all over the house. When she grew up, she ventured down several different paths, but it was not until she went to college to study architecture and urban planning that she made peace with her drawings. Nowadays she studies graphic design and collaborates on visual communication and animation projects, especially children’s books and stories that are somehow intertwined with her own, as well as with those of many Black people. They are layers of colors, feelings, and strong textures that reverberate in her body and are magnified through the joy of being able to express herself, always with lots of emotion, through illustrations.
Regarding the creative process for the images made for the Instituto Ibirapitanga Collection, Bárbara says that: “it was a major process for me. Being invited to make illustrations about Food Systems etched a timeline between my past and the current situation in Brazil. It evoked the ancestral memory of tending the land and the foods that truly nourish, the older women and their transfer of knowledge through herbs, leaves, and fruits. I was entirely shaken by the inkling of Brazil’s return to the hunger map, millions of Brazilians facing food insecurity, and the State’s crushing neglect. Not having anything to eat at home, like a monster on the prowl. Brazilians on the edge, on the margins of the country’s magnitude and wealth. It squeezed my chest hard, the colors, therefore, couldn’t be different. But there were the sighs, the gaps, the textures. And I think that’s where the greatness lies. In the middle of this bubble, I had the opportunity to meet Sueli Carneiro, Cida Bento, Lúcia Xavier, among others. I was also introduced to Josué de Castro and discovered his power to create an internal commotion. I was closely involved in the exchange with the Ibirapitanga Collection team, especially with Linoca Souza – she’s such a force, and what an honor to get to know her as an artist, curator, and sensitive and attentive woman. Illustrating for Ibirapitanga triggered in me, it united the power of those who came before me, the struggle for the food that nourishes and swung me to see the urgency of the attempt to transmute in a collective and the importance of planning narratives and futures with real food.”