In 2015, the play A Mulher do Trem, put on at the Itaú Cultural Institute in São Paulo by theater company Os Fofos Encenam, was criticized on social networks because the actors used blackface – a type of makeup worn by white actors to create a caricature of Black people. The movement gained such momentum that the venue removed the play from its programming and replaced it with a series of debates on the role of Black actors in theater, called Diálogos Ausentes (“Absent Dialogues”), and created its first Racial Equality Committee.
Representing and including people who have not previously occupied the space they deserve in campaigns and projects can present a great challenge. But it is precisely because of this challenge that it is such a powerful opportunity to rethink creativity in Brazil.
As our current economic and behavioral models continue to fail, it is no longer enough to communicate only by speaking — or to create without considering the ethical dimension of every aesthetic action.
Diversity, gender, food, spirituality, and ecology have been some of the main themes of the Brazilian creative market in recent years. For those who see opportunity in this context, it is essential to understand that we need more than just inclusive discourse – we need inclusive practice, forging ties with the people who actually live these under-represented realities.
In search of inspiration, we selected six projects and professionals that are immersed in the creative research of themes that take us out of our comfort zones — take a look 👀
NoBrasil and Afro-Brazilian Creativity
Diane Lima has a master’s degree in semiotics from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, is creative director of the NoBrasil platform, and founder of AfroTranscendence, a festival that unites researchers and creators around the themes of creativity for and by Afro-Brazilians. Her work is based on diversity practices that encompass communication, artistic languages, and innovation. She is one of the curators of the Absent Dialogues show at Itaú Cultural.
Iacitatá and Food From Northern Brazil
Tainá Marajoara was born on the Island of Marajó, in the state of Pará, and has dedicated herself to studying native food and ways of growing and preparing food with complete respect for nature, including producers. Together with her partner, chef Carlos Ruffeil, she runs Iacitatá, a cultural center in Belém, the capital of Pará. More than just a slow food restaurant, it is a meeting point for local producers and researchers of Amazonian cultures.
“Popular Consumption” and Favelas in Large Cities
An anthropologist with a master’s degree and a doctorate in consumerism, Hilaine Yaccoub researches issues regarding access to goods and services in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and on the peripheries of the country’s major cities. A professor and columnist for various publications, she has her own blog Teias do Consumo and in 2015 she released a book Consumo Popular (“Popular Consumption”).
Coletivo 65/10 and Women in Advertising
Thais Fabris is one of the founders – along with Maria Guimarães and Larissa Vaz — of Coletivo 65/10. The group’s main objective is to reduce chauvenism in advertising and to question the role of women in creative and innovative companies through brand consultancy and workshops. In 2016, they led a number of debates over fairer language regarding gender, including at the GP Conference.
The Hybrids Project and Musicality in Brazil
Since 2014, documentary-maker and researcher Priscilla Telmon has been working with filmmaker Vincent Moon on Híbridos (“Hybrids”), a multimedia project that shares interviews, short films, and a feature film, all based on their immersion in more than 80 rituals involving music and spirituality in Brazil. They plan to launch a digital platform for the project in 2017, which will comprise a library of texts and research.
Ailton Krenak and the Environmental Debate
Ailton Krenak is an indigenous leader, environmentalist, and writer. Born in the Rio Doce Valley in the state of Minas Gerais, he is a well-known Brazilian philosopher in the fields of ecology and education. He was one of the researchers invited by the 32nd São Paulo Biennial to compose debates on indigenous creativity and thinking.