By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday, April 28th, Museu de Arte do Rio (Rio’s Museum of Art), in Centro, opened “O Rio do samba: resistência e reinvenção” (Samba’s Rio de Janeiro: resistance and reinvention), exhibition dedicated to the history of samba. Until March 2019, visitors can learn about the Brazilian music genre through photos, paintings, art installations and historical relics, like singer Carmen Miranda’s jewelry.
Having renowned samba composer Nei Lopes as one of the curators, the exhibition marks the fifth anniversary of Rio’s Museum of Art. Through a sociological and anthropological perspective, the project depicts the trajectory of samba music from the nineteenth century until the present day.
Based on this historical approach, the exhibition is divided into three sections. The first part, dedicated to the “black Rio de Janeiro”, features the African legacy for the samba culture. Instruments from the Afro Brazilian religion Candomblé – which influenced the music genre, as well as paintings by French artist Jean-Baptiste Debret, can be found in this section.
Thinking of the urban transformations Rio has been through with the advent of rail, the segment “Da Praça XI às zonas de contato” (From Praça XI square to the contact zones) focuses on the development of samba in Rio’s periphery. Photographic records by French Brazilian artist Marcel Gautherot, portraying the “rodas de samba” in the first favelas, are some of the items one can check in this section.
In “O samba carioca, um patrimônio” (Carioca samba, a heritage), visitors are invited to reflect about the changes experienced by the samba in the second half of the twentieth century. Lapa’s revitalization and the samba schools’ carnival spectacle are some of the themes depicted in this section, which includes LP covers, a film and objects from samba school Beija-Flor‘s 1989 carnival parade.
Five art installations – out of the 800 art pieces – were exclusively created for “O Rio do samba: resistência e reinvenção”, such as Jaime Lauriano’s panel, with the names of the ethniticies of enslaved Africans, right at the museum’s entrance; and a sonorous installation by musician Djalma Corrêa, inspired by the rhythm of the heartbeat.
It is worth noting that several art works in this exhibition were made by renowned Brazilian artists from diverse fields, such as painters Cândido Portinari, Di Cavalcanti and Heitor dos Prazeres; photographers Walter Firmo and Evandro Teixeira; and visual artist Hélio Oiticica.
According to composer and curator Nei Lopes, one of the aims of the project is to present a samba narrative with a historical perspective that takes into account the social and cultural tensions from Rio de Janeiro:
“We want to detour from Carnival, which is always the focus, to get a wider, more complete view of the samba. It is very important that we, black artists, are not only seen as a body, but also as the spirit and the voice of our artistic creations,” says Lopes to media outlet O Globo.
What: “O Rio do samba: resistência e reinvenção” (Samba’s Rio de Janeiro: resistance and reinvention)
When: April 28, 2018 to March 2019 – Tuesday to Sunday, from 10AM to 5PM.
Where: Museu de Arte do Rio – Praça Mauá, s/n – Centro.
Entrance: FREE until May 31st; R$20 from June 1st.