I used to be a freelance photographer of the Jornal do Brazil’ Sunday Magazine. In one of the issues of the magazine it was published a poetic story of Carlos Drummond de Andrade about Rio de Janeiro containing my own photographs.
"In this poetics of ‘’Mr. Carlos", as I called him, it was written: Rio de Janeiro can be a good or a bad city to live in, depending on experience, economic and social conditions and one’s mood"; and what made Rio de Janeiro this peculiar city?
Rio de Janeiro had the highest African arrival in the Americas - the Valongo Pier - There were landed 2 million * of Africans as slaves.
These people brought to the city the African cultures of different Bantu origin coming from Angola, Congo, Benguela and Mozambique. Here, these cultures were deconstructed and generated the Carioca Culture of African Matrices that is part of the day by day life of those who lives in Rio. Rio contains all ‘Africas’; there is no Carioca who was born without that influence.
The presence of us, black people, in this scenario is the permanency of centuries of our history, is the search for integration in contemporary spaces, is to use our strategies of resistance that allows us to survive all attempts of annihilation. Is to create unequal policies to get equal opportunities.
We, carioca black men and women are playful, no matter whether we are in a university or in a small bar in the favela, we are full of gimmick, dingle-dangle, smartness. Our women are beautiful, divine and wonderful and have a very rare quality: they are WARRIORS.
This black carioca way of being, acting and thinking is what created the carioca standard of living - work hard and enjoy life-.
Each of this exhibition photos shows what I am saying: this African cultural heritage is intensely experienced, in the day-to-day basis, by the African descendants living in Rio de Janeiro. Due to the current reform of the Rio de Janeiro docks we are (re) discovering the Tia Ciata’s Little Africa, an important person from Rio’s black history. Despite the violence around us, despite the social exclusion to which we are subject and the racism that is imposed on black people we are proud to know that the Rio de Janeiro cultural main characteristic is Black.
Studies of most researchers cited around 700,000 the number of Africans who arrived as slaves by Valongo. The Emory University, working with an updated database, reshaped this perspective. These data are being translated and worked in partnership with the House of Rui Barbosa Foundation.