By William Jones, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Portela samba school have revealed that they will erect a giant eighteen-meter high sculpture in homage of the recent demonstrations and social movements which have swept across Brazil in the past year during Carnival.

Portela in Carnival 2013, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The first couple leading Portela in Carnival 2013, photo by Tata Barreto/RioTur.

Pictures of the massive statue, initially intended to be a surprise, were leaked onto the Internet. Despite this, Alexandre Louzada, Portela’s carnavalesco (Carnival designer), remained upbeat regarding the unveiling to the sculpture which depicts the awakening of the Brazilian people who have voiced discontent in the past year amid economic and social unrest.

Louzada was asked by Brazilian newspaper O Globo if the sculpture was added to the school’s float after the popularization of the phrase “the giant woke up” in the wake of the protests, a phrase meant to capture the sudden awakening of the Brazilian people. “It had been planned. I have a crystal ball,” he joked.

According to O Globo, Louzada has been working twelve hours a day to ensure that the school is ready for next week’s show and wants a return to glory for one of Rio de Janeiro’s oldest samba establishments but expressed reservations over his plans. “Yesterday, I did not get to see if it would work,” he said, in regards to the five-meter flame the giant statue is supposed to release during the parade.

The carnavalesco promises that this statue is the biggest sculpture that has passed through the famous Marquês de Sapucaí arches of the Sambódromo, surpassing the Simón Bolívar statue made ​​by him in Vila Isabel in 2006 which was twelve meters high.

The G.R.E.S. Portela samba school is located in Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhood of Madureira. It was founded in 1923 and holds the all-time record of wins in the samba competition, with 21 victories. However, the school has not won a title since the 1980s.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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