Inhotim: The Nature of Art

Travelling from São Paulo to Belo Horizonte, tucked away in the rural lands, is Inhotim. My Brazilian colleagues travelling with me explain they have wanted to visit for years. So we make the detour. Inhotim is described as a museological complex, and in its modern form combines art with nature in a sprawling botanical garden setting. There are two dozen gallery buildings connected across 140 hectares.

Modern art installation at Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Photo by James Russell)

Each gallery is a uniquely designed building, and houses a collection from a single artist. The representation of artists is global, from original historic photography of Amazonian tribes in a natural brick building among the jungle to modern art from Communist states in a concrete building by the lakeside.

Art gallery at Inhotim
Art gallery at Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Photo by James Russell)

The highlights of Inhotim are the installations placed in natura. Some are large and become part of the vista as you wander around the estate, others are small and surprise you around a corner. There is a great joy in being able to interact with these installations unsupervised. A family of geese have moved in to one and appear its fiercest critics, having defecated in the locality.

Botanical garden at Inhotim
Botanical garden at Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Photo by James Russell)

It certainly wasn’t possible to explore the entire park in only one afternoon; we only managed the pink line. However, entrance is cheap and multi-day passes are available. The restaurant served amazing food and the owner of Inhotim, who we saw being interviewed at the restaurant, has intentions to further develop the complex to facilitate visitors.

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Conservation biologist Dr. James Russell works throughout the world on remote islands and other sites to provide conservation solutions by applying a combination of scientific methods. Follow James on National Geographic voices for regular updates on his own work or other exciting developments in island conservation.