By Saira Ansari, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Cidade Maravilhosa has dedicated many historical buildings across the city to house cultural centers. Within the vicinity of downtown Centro, one can visit several of these beautiful sites and discover some of their story, architecture and the exhibits they host. One such site definitely worth visiting is the Centro Cultural Justiça Federal CCJF (Federal Justice Cultural Center), located on Avenida Rio Branco, right across from Cinelândia.
The CCJF is more than a hundred years old, with eclectic architecture and ornate detailing on the doors and windows. The interior is equally stunning with a magnificent marble and carved wrought-iron staircase as the centerpiece connecting all the floors, and a large stained glass mural of the Lady Justice as the backdrop.
In the early twentieth century the CCJF served as the Supreme Court headquarters, and over the years the building was allocated several other roles. In 1994 the building was shut down for restoration which continued for seven years, and was declared a cultural center in 2001.
Now the CCJF holds a record of the legal history of Brazil, complete with multimedia presentations all over the building. One of the truly wonderful spaces is that of the preserved Sessions Courtroom.
This room has an impressive aura of power and importance, and still retains its original mahogany floor and furnishings. The walls and ceilings are elaborately decorated with relatively well-preserved frescoes and there are three immensely luminescent and detailed stained glass windows.
The building includes two floors of connecting exhibition galleries, a theater and multimedia room, a library and a reading room. There is also a small café on the ground floor at the entrance offering views of the outside.
These spaces are utilized to promote art exhibitions as well as plays and concerts. They are also used for educational purposes and many lectures, workshops and book launches are hosted at the venue.
Currently on at the CCJF are two very interesting exhibitions. Projeto Zona Oculta – entre o público eo privado (Project Hidden Zone – between the public and the private) is a multi-phase exhibition that showcases contemporary artworks made solely by women. The show includes a vast range of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and video art.
The second exhibition is voyeuristic in nature, and there is an age restriction of sixteen years for viewing it. Vida líquida is a ten-year retrospective show by artist Cláudio Montagna and contains large scale works on canvas and paper made with clippings of nude men and women taken from porn magazines.
The website of CCJF is constantly updated with information on new shows and film festivals and add to the rich itinerary of cultural events in Rio, definitely making this site worth a visit.
Address: Av. Rio Branco, 241 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12PM-7PM