MAM - Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia
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Watching the Matrix in Salvador, Brazil
The giant blender called Salvador has mashed, pureed and pulverized a million things over the last four centuries. ‘Capoeira’ is one of the most graceful concoctions it has whipped up. One afternoon I drove down to the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador to watch a group of local Capoeira dancers. Capoeira, A combination of martial arts, dance and music was apparently dreamed up by Angolan slaves brought to Brazil. There are several conflicting theories about the exact origin of the art, but one thing is indisputable. If the human body could write poetry-this is riveting verse. After almost two weeks in Brazil and I was puzzled by the contrasts that lie around every corner. As the dancers, bend, leap, twist and tumble in the air, I wrestled with my own observations. Every one here tells first person stories of car-jackings, petty theft, kidnappings and murders. Stories that would lead you to think of Brazil as violent and cold. But it would be folly to think of Brazilians as violent. Just like Capoeira, the lines between the violence and the dance are blurry. One thing is clear. Brazil is a complex, layered and dense country and me attempting to deconstruct it, would be like attempting a double back flip Capoeira move.
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