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Imagine objects that cannot decide whether they are a book or a painting; or even sculpture or anything of the sort. Imagine books that are unique, that cannot be reproduced, handmade and evincing a crazy urge to leap onto the walls to become canvases. They want to be shown to the eyes as works of art and, at the same time, wish to be handled like books.

These are Urucum’s items: they are hybrids of books with something else - a drawer-book, a window-book, an object-book - each one of which seems to reinvent what it is to be... a book.

Created in 2014 in Brazil under the UQ! Editions label, with Leonel Kaz, we have created and handcrafted more than a dozen projects for important Brazilian artists such as Frans Krajcberg, Luiz Zerbini, Antonio Dias and Ferreira Gullar. We work in close partnership with artists and craftspeople and what we produce is the result of many conversations and creative collaborations.

Each editorial project is unique; each edition is entirely different from the next.To say that they are handmade books would not fully describe what they are. Each one was being conceived throughout the making process. In a dialogue between different artists, we adapted the graphic arts of the books to the unique poetics of each creator. In 2017, the publishing house established itself in Portugal with the publication a book with a large original paintings on bamboo paper by Pedro Cabrita Reis. From then on, Urucum in Portugal was born, now with unique works by artists of various nationalities such as José Eduardo Agualusa, Marco Tirelli, Joana Vasconcelos and, more recently, Claude Viallat.

These books have since been exhibited in various galleries, fairs and art institutions in different countries such as Spain, France, England, Italy and Mozambique.

Urucum. Red fruit native to tropical America, used in body painting, cooking

and medicine. In the Mebêngôkre language of the Kayapó Indigenous group,

annatto indicates a sacred plant, called pykoré, with strong symbolism in r

elation to abundance. According to the young Mopa Kayapó, from

the A'ukre village, when starting a swidden or setting up a village,

an annatto is sought after, as positive energy will flow from it.


Lucia Bertazzo, is a PhD student in Museology, with a grant from the Unesco Chair - Education, Citizenship and Cultural Diversity at the Lusófona University of Lisbon. She has a degree in Design and a master's degree in Visual Culture from the Federal University of Goiás. She worked, between 2005 and 2010, with production in the studio of the artist Siron Franco. In 2014, in Rio de Janeiro, it opened UQ! Editions

with Leonel Kaz. When she moved to Lisbon, in 2017, she brought the publishing house and in Portuguese lands transformed it into Urucum. 

Lucia also develops curatorship projects, assembling exhibitions and editions.

Olivia Portellada, has a master's degree in Architecture from the University of Lisbon. Throughout her career, in addition to architecture, she has worked with photography, design and cultural production. Today she is responsible for production at Urucum.


Inês Coimbra, Leonel Kaz, Sula Danowiski, Cláudia Ahimsa, Fernando Ferreira, Eudóxia Bertazzo, Giuseppe Bertazzo, José Falcão, Estúdio Bulhufas, Bookbinding Design, Júlia Leite, Inovacril, Ana Bertazzo, Elisabete Pereira, Heloisa Vivanco, Flávio Aquilina, Rui Carvalho, Teresa Apolônia, Antonio Costa, Jaime Acioli.

Translations Catalogue & Website:

Flavia Couto (English) / Danielle Schramm (French)

Translations Books:

Agualusa - Daniel Hahn (English) / Gociante Patissa (Umbundu) / Danielle Schramm (French) / Teresa Arijon (Spanish)

Augusto dos Anjos & Marco Tirelli -  Leland Guyer (English) 

Photos and Videos - Bruno Veiga and Francisco Baccaro


National Museum Reina Sofia Art Center, ES

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, PT

The Getty Museum, USA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA

Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art (Gilberto Chateaubriand Collection), BR

Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói (João Sattamini Collection), BR

Library of Congress of the United States of America, USA

Indiana University Library, US

Stanford University Library, USA

Link to Cláudia Ahimsa’s text:

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