By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday Tuesday, May 8th, Arquivo Nacional (Brazil’s National Archives) in Centro opened the exhibit “130 anos da Abolição da Escravatura” (130 Years of the Abolition of Slavery).

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Rio News, Brazil News
The exhibition aims to reflect on the remaining racial inequalities in Brazil, but also celebrates the Afro Brazilian culture and heritage, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

Running though Saturday, May 11th, visitors will have the opportunity to check rare historical documents from 1888, but also enjoy free shows, dance performances and art and food fairs.

The exhibition displays forty documents from Arquivo Nacional’s collection, all of them directly related to the abolition process. The original documents of the emblematic “Lei Áurea” (Golden Law), the “Ventre Livre” (Free Womb) law, and even a shopping list – where slaves are placed at the side of food items like tomatoes and lettuce – are some of the relics one can see at the exhibit.

“Through this exhibition, we think we can shed light on the barbarism that slavery in Brazil was. People were treated like objects,” said Thiago Mourelle, Arquivo Nacional’s research supervisor.

Additionally, Arquivo Nacional will host several cultural attractions that aim to reflect on racism and racial inequalities in present day Brazil, but also celebrate the Afro Brazilian cultures and heritage.

On Wednesday, May 9th, the Arquivo Nacional’s agenda will be marked by a series of debates, which are open to the audiences and will happen from 2PM to 5PM. Religious intolerance and black people in the labor market are some of the themes to be discussed by the participants. At 6:30 PM, Afro Brazilian bloco Lemi Ayó and renowned group Rio Maracatu will perform at the venue.

A film festival dedicated to great Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos (who recently passed away) will happen on Thursday, May 10th. Some of Santos’ memorable productions on the Afro Brazilian communities, like “Rio Zona Norte” and “Amuleto de Ogum” will be screened at Arquivo Nacional from 2PM to 6PM. In the evening, samba school Portela will present a vibrant show at 7:30 PM.

The film exhibit continues on Friday, May 11th, and will include cinema and TV relics that honor the best Afro Brazilian artists of all time, like Grande Otelo, Clementina de Jesus and Cartola.

At 6:30 PM, Mário Lúcio, Cape Verdean writer and former Minister of Culture, will lead a debate, followed by the performance of groups Jongo do Pinheiral, Companhia de Aruanda, and a “roda de choro” with Silvério Pontes and Choro na Rua.

Closing the week with the best from Afro Brazilian music, Saturday’s line-up will host around ten attractions from 12PM to 5:30 PM, including traditional group Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi; capoeira group Angola Ypiranga de Pastinha; Angolan Congolese band Bumoko; Carioca funk dance group Afrofunk, among others.

There will also be the food fair Feira das Yabás from Madureira, the art fair Feira Crespa and a book fair, all of them happening throughout the day.

The exhibition “130 anos da Abolição da Escravatura” also celebrates the 180th anniversary of Arquivo Nacional, which stands out for its 65 kilometers of historical documents, including speeches, films, laws and maps.

What: “130 anos da Abolição da Escravatura”
When: from Tuesday, May 8th, to Saturday, May 12th – time varies according to the day.
Where: Arquivo Nacional – Praça da República, 173 – Centro
Entrance: FREE



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