Brinquedos à Mão: Playtime is Culture

Brazilian toys

Caixa Cultural has an exhibition called Brinquedos à Mão, a collection of 900 handmade toys from northeastern and rural Brazil. Although I don’t have the same connection or sense of nostalgia as possibly other people at the exhibit, I still enjoy seeing how culture is manifested through traditional toys. Which one’s your favorite?

brazilian toys

Puppets

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The floral material is a traditional Brazilian cloth called chita.

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It's hard to see, but the doll on the right is playing the triangle.

It’s hard to see, but the doll on the right is playing the triangle.

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Bumba Meu Boi

Bumba Meu Boi

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Alright, so not all of them are traditional. The two on the right are called cangaçeiros.

Alright, so not all of them are traditional. The two on the right are called cangaçeiros.

I wish i had this parque de diversão as a kid!

I wish i had this parque de diversão as a kid!

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"So this is life..."

“So this is life…”

Brazilian dollhouse, complete with its rede, or hammock

Brazilian dollhouse, complete with its rede, or hammock

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These are tiny as well.

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I refer to this one as Freddie Mercury.

I refer to this one as Freddie Mercury.

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I looked this game up and it's sort of similar to jacks.

I looked this game up and it’s similar to jacks.

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Wooden puppets

Wooden puppets

A little hard to see because of the glass casing, but it depicts the dry sertão in the northeast.

The dry sertão in the northeast.

 

Mermaids, Migrants and Maps: The Beauty of Brazilian Xilogravura

One type of Brazilian art I was immediately enamored with is xilogravura, or woodcut. It’s a printmaking technique where a design is carved onto a block of wood, and the negative space is removed with a gouge. It’s most popular in Northeastern Brazil, where artists tend to depict a mix of daily life and folklore, with a whimsical spirit.

Caixa Cultural at Praça da Sé currently has an exhibit dedicated to Pernambucan artist Gilvan Samico. Samico’s work stands apart from other artists because of the incredible detail in his works, often employing biblical characters and mythological creatures.

Gilvan Samico

Rumores de Guerra em Tempos de Paz (Rumors of War in Times of Peace) – 2001

Gilvan Samico

A Bela e a Fera (Beauty and the Beast) – 1996

Gilvan Samico

O Rapto do Sol (The Kidnapping of the Sun) – 1960

This photo didn't turn out great, I know, but I wanted to include it anyway because it's a beautiful scene.

This photo didn’t turn out great, I know, but I wanted to include it anyway because it’s a beautiful scene. Três Mulheres e a Lua (Three Women and the Moon) – 1959

Caixa has another exhibit entitled Alma Brasileira: 100 Anos de Gravura, celebrating the tradition of woodcut and engravings by various Brazilian artists.

Pernambucano J. Borges is one of the most famous xilogravura artists.

Pernambucano J. Borges is one of the most famous xilogravura artists. O Sonho do Medroso (The Coward’s Dream)

This scene depicts the migration of nordestinos to  southeast Brazil, a common theme in xilogravura and Northeast Brazilian art.

This scene depicts the migration of nordestinos to southeast Brazil, a common theme in xilogravura and Northeast Brazilian art. Os Aretirantes (The Migrants)

Brasil 1500 - 1996, by Anna Bella Geiger (1996)

Brasil 1500 – 1996, by Anna Bella Geiger – 1996

Water: We Have None

My photo challenge today is themed water, which is ironic since São Paulo is experiencing a maddening drought. People around the city have had their water cut off, some have mud coming out of their tap, and protesters have taken to the streets to demand government action. I’ve been lucky so far as to still have water, but I know it’s just a matter of time until I’ll have to buy bottled water to take a shower, like so many others have done. The most frustrating part is that we’ve been hearing about it for awhile now, with an update every so often on how low the reserves are, but nothing seems to have been done about it. A number of NGOs have recently partnered together to create Aliança Pela Água (Alliance For Water) in order to join resources to look for solutions, but no real action has been taken by the government, where the real change needs to take place.

On that note, I present my photo of a fountain, taken at one of the million mini-shopping malls on Paulista. It’s beautiful, but not functioning.

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