Héctor Julio Páride Bernabó or Carybé (Lanús, Buenos Aires province, Argentina, 7 February 1911 – Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 2 October 1997) was a painter, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator, potter, sculptor, mural painter, researcher, historian and journalist. He settled in Brazil and naturalized as a Brazilian.
While living in Rio de Janeiro, he was a scout. There, scouts were nicknamed after types of fish, and he was given the nickname of Carybé (a kind of piranha). So the artist used it as an alias for his Christian name, which was very similar to his brother’s name, who was also an artist.
He produced five thousand pieces of work, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and sketches. He illustrated books by Jorge Amado as well as Gabriel Gárcia Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was an Obá de Xangô, an honorary position in candomblé. He died of heart failure during a session in a candomblé yard.
Some of Carybé’s work can be found in the Afro-Brazilian Museum of Salvador: 27 panels representing the orixás. of the Bahian candomblé. Each board shows an orixá with his weapons and his animal of worship. They were sculpted on cedar wood, with engravings and scaling of various kinds of material. The work was commissioned by the former Banco da Bahia S.A., now Banco BBM S.A., which installed them in its branch on Avenida Sete de Setembro in 1968.
Carybé produced more than 5,000 works; his art was expressed through paintings, engravings, illustrations, wood carvings, mosaics and murals.
American Airlines, Odebrecht and the Miami-Dade Aviation Department have partnered to bring a Latin American art treasure to Miami International Airport. The partnership will result in one of the most important contributions to Miami-Dade County, bringing the art of Brazilian artist Carybé to the Gateway of the Americas.
The Carybé murals, two of the most iconic public art pieces in the U.S. aviation sector, had been on display in the American Airlines’ terminal at JFK Airport in New York since 1960. The 16.5x53 feet murals were commissioned when Carybé was awarded first and second prize in a contest to create public art pieces for the airport.
After learning about the demolition of the terminal, Odebrecht, a Brazilian company with strong ties to Carybé, began an initiative to salvage the artist’s murals through a partnership with American Airlines.
American Airlines has donated the murals to Miami-Dade County and Odebrecht has invested in a project to remove, restore, transport and install the murals at Miami International Airport. When experts in New York complete the restoration process in 2009, the murals will be on permanent display at MIA’s new South Terminal, built by Odebrecht in a Joint venture.
The mural "Rejoicing and Festival of the Americas" portrays colorful scenes from popular festivals throughout the Americas, and "Discovery and Settlement of the West" depicts the pioneers’ journey into the American West.
Like Miami’s diverse culture, Carybé’s art in many ways mirrors the city’s multi-ethnic flavor. His art is permeated with the vibrant colors, rich culture and mystic religious traditions of Bahia, Brazil.
Carybé’s celebration of life and respect for cultural diversity are qualities he shares with the Miami community, making MIA the perfect home for Carybé’s murals.