A n-ice way to spend Christmas

Story by Jack Foley

Art Brazil: In a move that aims to highlight the vibrant diversity of the Brazilian art scene, the country's embassy in London today opens a gallery devoted to the artistic output of that nation. For the next 11 months, Gallery 32 will play host to a variety of painters, sculptors and photographers as well as a documentary festival and week-long feature film festival. Following the success of the Rio section of last year's Tate Modern Century City exhibition, as well as the popularity of the five events held in an offshoot of S"o Paulo's Rediscovery exposition, ArtBrazil is designed to cement these tentative efforts at cross-cultural fertilisation. Determined to prove that Brazil has a good deal more going on than soccer, sun and samba, the programme is playful, provocative and showcases artists from both the mainstream and the avant-garde. First up is Alex Gama (until April 27), whose woodcuts (Trama XXX III pictured above) have made him one of Brazil's foremost printmakers, while in May, the Whitechapel gallery, also participating in this event, exhibits the installation work of HÈlio Oiticica and his Quasi-Cinemas, in which visitors will swing in hammocks while taking in the film images projected on the walls, floors and ceiling. Later exhibitions will include VerÙnica FranÁa and Ana Miguel's little creatures with monstrous characteristics. The exhibitions are supported by a series of lectures (to be held at Canning House, 2 Belgrave Square SW1. 020 7235 2303), the first of which is entitled Vehicles For The Imagination: Contemporary Artistic Practice In Brazil (April 17, 6.30pm). Until Feb 27 2003, Gallery 32, 32 Green Street W1, Mon to Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat 11am to 4pm, free, 020 7399 9247. May 3 to June 23, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Whitechapel High Street E1, Tue to Sun 11am to 6pm (Wed until 8pm), free, 020 7522 7888.