24 Hours In Sao Paulo, Brazil

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24 Hours In Sao Paulo, Brazil 

“The world is like that — incomprehensible and full of surprises.” Jorge Amado, Brazilian author

I have  been to Sao Paulo before.  My boyfriend had never been though we both have spent a lot of time in that airport.

Metropolitan São Paulo is more that three times the size of Moscow and six point five times the size of New York. With almost twenty million inhabitants, it is the biggest city in both Americas and the Southern hemisphere.

I guess that is why they have some really bad traffic jams.

Six PM – We land in Sao Paulo and check in to the  lovely Hotel Emiliano. I would like to have spent more time there. 

 Eight PM  Dinner at house of new friends we had met in the Panatanal – fun. 

Eleven AM  We are picked up by Josanna (most upbeat person ever)  and we start our tour of the city. It is Monday and everything I wanted to do was closed so I go with them. It isn’t raining yet.

Eleven Thirty AM   Parque Ibirapuera is the city’s largest green space and one of the largest city parks in Latin America. The name means a rotten tree in the Tupi language and despite the unfortunate name there are many beautiful trees.

There is plenty to do here…paths to walk or bike or people watch, museums, Niemeyer architecture, a lake, and more. It is rated as one of the best urban parks in the world.

Most of the buildings are designed by Oscar Niemeyer and the landscaping is by famed landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx.  I saw  alot of both their work and wrote about it the last time I was here  but it was so fun to see it again.

 One PM São Paulo is considered one of the best cities in the world for the development of creativity in street art.

For some of the best, we visited the area of Villa Magdalena, especially Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley).

 One Thirty PM  Shopping!!!!

Two Thirty PM  The rain has started and we are having lunch at Figueira Rubaiyat ( Fig tree). The restaurant is built around a huge fig tree with a glass ceiling.

Four PM  We drive through the Japanese neighborhood of Liberdade. Brazil has the largest number of Japanese living outside Japan of any country in the world, and many of these Japanese Brazilians live in São Paulo. It is a fun place to explore and see how the influence of Japan has influenced Brazilian life here and, of course, try some great food.

Four Thirty PM We stop  at Mercado Municipal to pick up  cachaca, dende and Brazil nuts (which turned out to be stale.) The market, located in the old center of the city, attracts large crowds every day. The ground floor has hundreds of stalls selling fruit, vegetables, spices, and cured meats, while there is an upper level with a number of charming restaurants.

 Five Thirty PM  Head for Airport 

Special thanks to Josanna for her knowledge, humor and kindness and maybe the best personality and attitude of anyone I have ever met in the world!!!!!!

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Want To Do In Brazil This Time

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Things That I Want To Do In  Brazil This Time

“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”    Kurt Vonnegut

Eat At Mocoto In Sao Paulo again.

Wander around Pelourinho.  It is the old city in Salvador. Bahia, with colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. Salvador is filled with music, dance, capoeira schools, restaurants and bars.

Experience a Candobie ceremony in Salvador. Candobie is a religion that melds together the traditions, customs and deities of African religions, Catholicism and even some indigenous beliefs. An opportunity to experience a candomblé service or ceremony is a fantastic way to see the Afro-Brazilian culture come alive, and the ceremonies often involve music and dancing and are held throughout the year.

See the art in Bahia – street, galleries, museums. 

Spend the day on a boat going to different beaches near Salvador.

 Stay at a lodge in the Pantanal. The best place in South America to see wildlife is not the Amazon but the Pantanal, a Florida-size wetland on the far western edge of Brazil that bursts with animals — capybaras, caimans, jaguars, anacondas, giant otters, colorful hyacinth macaws, kites, hawks, and flocks of storks and herons .

Do a jaguar tracking tour in the Pantanal. Ii is not a guarantee as it is late in the season but there might be  smaller cats such as the ocelot, as well as other animals such as foxes, howler monkeys, and caiman. Tapirs, giant anteaters, capybara, and peccaries, all rare in most of their remaining habitats, are seen here.

Take a boat down the river and see all the birds and fish.

Go Piranha fishing and eating.

Fly safe,

JAZ.

Things I’ve Learned In Sao Paulo, Brazil

Things I’ve Learned In São Paulo, Brazil

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.” Roman Payne

Metropolitan São Paulo is more that 3 times the size of Moscow and 6,5 times the of
size of New York. With almost twenty million inhabitants, it is the biggest city in both Americas and the Southern hemisphere.

I guess that is why they have some really bad traffic jams.

São Paulo is inland. Los Angeles is on the ocean. They have the same air pollution.

There is coffee on almost every street corner in São Paulo. Brazilians love a coffee after lunch. (non Brazilians also at Casa Mathilde)

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Manhattan has many skyscrapers and tall buildings. So does São Paulo.

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Between the tall buildings, traffic, air pollution and coffee, I felt right at home.

Parque Ibirapuera is the city’s largest green space and one of the largest city parks in Latin America. The name means a rotten tree in the Tupi language and despite the unfortunate name there are many beautiful trees.

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There is plenty to do here…paths to walk or bike or people watch, museums, Niemeyer architecture, a lake, and more.

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It is rated as one of the best urban parks in the world.

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Most of the buildings are designed by Oscar Niemeyer and the landscaping is by famed landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx. (The Auditorium by Niemeyer)

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The opulent park is so big that you can easily forget you’re sitting in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world.

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The São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM) is located in the park. It was built in 1948 and modeled after the Museum of Modern Art in NY (MOMA).(lunch at MAM)

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It has over 4000 mostly Brazilian works of art. The commissioned mural in the front is by graffiti artist Os Gemeos.

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The Marquise is a large covered construction by Oscar Niemeyer that links several of the buildings together. Every day, skateboarders, cyclists, athletes, families and friends gather there.

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It provides a shaded paved area for young people to roller blade, roller skate and skateboard.

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It is very crowded on Sundays and people sell food, drinks and crafts as well.

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Many streets in Sao Paulo  are named for Portuguese explorers and Brazilian Revolutionaries.

Uber is banned at the moment due to protests from the taxi drivers unions. The mayor is hoping to find a middle ground that appeases both parties.

People who live in the state of São Paulo are called Paulistas. People who live in the city of São Paulo are called Paulistanos. Paulistanos love Pizza.

MASP is one of the cities best art museums.

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On Sundays, the area around MASP on Avenida Paulista hosts two great outdoor markets. The space under the museum becomes a huge antiques market, and the space across the street is a handicrafts market where great street food is sold

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The world’s largest gay pride parade takes place here in May/June. It’s also supposedly the most expensive real estate in Latin America. The whole avenue runs along a subway line and so easily reached by public transport. (Kobra paints on Avenue Paulista)

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Another lovely museum in São Paulo, the Pinacoteca houses a huge collection of Brazilian art that serves as a visual story of the country’s history and cultural evolution.

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It is the oldest gallery in São Paulo and visited by many school children.

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The venerable public art museum was masterfully restored in exposed-brick style in the 1990s by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

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The museum has a beautiful café downstairs and is connected to Parque da Luz, a public park that includes outdoor sculptures and a European-style garden area.

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There are dividers between “good and “bad” parts of the city. The Pinacoteca is located across the street from the Luz train station.

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Estação da Luz is a beautiful 19th-century train station with high ceilings, intricate ironwork and narrow walkways  which separates the park from one of the worst drug areas in São Paulo.

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It is called Cracolandia or Crackland. Prostitutes line the walkways in search of customers. Crack cocaine has become a big problem in Brazil It is the second biggest crack epidemic since the US in the eighties.

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In the City Center, keep your eyes moving, put away your cell phone and camera. Keep your money hidden and walk with a purpose like you know what you are doing. ( just like growing up in NY)

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Se (cathedral) is located in the historic city center ( where the city was founded).

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The Neo-Gothic building took fifty years to complete because two world wars made it difficult to get materials from Italy. I have no exterior photos because see above.

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The Patio do Colegio was the original center of São Paulo.All that remains of the 16th-century building are the doors and a stretch of clay wall. It is now a historical museum the gardens of the museum is a pleasant café.

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The old center with its beautiful architecture and churches is still more homeless and drug infested than gentrified. There are a few good coffee places so change is near.

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Casa Mathilde is a great Portuguese bakery that serves the famous pastel de nata.

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I  have not been to Portugal ( where it is called pastel de Belem) but from the lines and conversations these are probably the best pastries outside of Portugal.

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Mocoto is located in Vila Medeiros, a neighbourhood in the north of São Paulo. Chef Rodrigo Oliveira attracts food-lovers with his distinctive take on Brazilian cuisine from the north-eastern state of Pernambuco where  his family is from. ( mocoto broth  – signature dish from original recipe, rice and beans, Brazilian dried, salted beef)

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Mocotó is also a cachaçaria, selling more than 500 cachaças.

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Alex Atala is the chef at D.O.M. who became famous for using Brazilian ingredients in beautifully executed contemporary dishes. It is the ninth best restaurant in the world.

Gastromotiva is a Brazilian organization which uses gastronomy to promote social change for at risk students.They have a vocational education program for eighteen to thirty-five year olds who are passionate about food and cooking who’s families make below a certain income.

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They have also instituted a cooking program in the prisons but there is a lot of bureaucracy in Brazil when it comes to prison change.

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We were lucky enough to spend some time with the students and have a delicious meal cooked by students and alumni. It’s a great organization for foodies to get involved with. https://gastromotiva.org

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São Paulo is considered one of the best cities in the world for the development of creativity in street art.

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The city’s streets are filled with wonderful examples of street, especially in the city center.

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For some of the best, visit the area Villa Magdalena, especially Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley).

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Vila Madalena is an artsy neighborhood with rows of pastel colored townhouses. There are nice art galleries, arts & crafts shops, bookstores and great nightlife in its restaurants, corner bars, and botecos (small bar/restaurants). Come here for samba, or just mingle with locals enjoying live music and petiscos (tapas) at the botecos.

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Botecos are everywhere. The doors open to the street, tiled walls and floors, a counter stocked with fried stuff, and sometimes peanuts are served. You can make a quick stop for a coxinha and a soda, or sit down for a prato feito with a bottle of cold beer. Most botecos are very simple, but there are also “modern”ones.

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Brazil has the largest number of Japanese living outside Japan of any country in the world, and many of these Japanese Brazilians live in São Paulo. The Japanese neighborhood, called Liberdade, is a fun place to explore and see how the influence of Japan has influenced Brazilian life here and, of course, try some great food. On Sundays, an enormous market takes place in the public square of Liberdade, and thousands of people from around the city attend.

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São Paulo is a huge city. I believe that you do what you can and next time I will see more. Thanks so much to our guide Arthur Simoes (who likes that painting) for his  sense of humor, energy (we had some long days), patience and knowledge of São Paulo. Obrigada until the next time.

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Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

Cities Without Hunger, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Cities Without Hunger, São Paulo, Brazil

“To create a garden is to search for a better world.  Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.”  Marina Schinz

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Nothing says hipster in a trendy city neighborhood more than an urban garden plot. Twenty to forty somethings who work in technology, startups or hedge funds are out there on the weekends digging in the dirt.

But urban organic gardens are showing up in some surprisingly unhip neighborhoods in countries around the world. People who don’t have access to a nearby Whole Foods and weekend farmer’s markets are growing food for themselves and their communities. It is changing their lives and the lives of the people around them.

The favelas (slums) of Brazil started after the ‘Guerra de Canudos’ (Canudos War) in Bahia (1895-1896). Government soldiers, who had lived among the favela trees, marched to Rio de Janeiro to await their payment. They settled on what is one of Rio’s hills and renamed the hill ‘Morro da Favela’ after the shrubby tree that thrived at the location of their victory. The government never paid and the soldiers never left and so the first favela came to be. The freed slaves in the late nineteenth century had nowhere to go so they built shacks and were squatters on public and private land. Urbanization in the 1950’s brought mass migration from the countryside for opportunities and employment. The favelas became settlements for the urban poor in the hills of the cities.(Rio)

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The poor people began to erect hundreds of shantytowns without sanitation, police or electricity. The shacks were made with what they could find, wood, corrugated aluminum and if they were lucky bricks and concrete blocks. Problems of drug trafficking, gangs, crime, disease, government and police corruption, malnutrition, overcrowding, housing and land safety were rampant. Favelas in Rio are easy to spot. It is a word you will hear during the Olympic coverage because they are very present in the city.

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In São Paulo they are on the outskirts of the city. Eventually the Brazilian government stepped in and though the land that most of the favelas are on are considered illegal and unsafe for housing, the city put in electricity and sanitation. They are trying to clean them up and build better housing and public programs but with so many people living below the poverty line it is an ongoing process.

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How does change happen in communities like these? It happens by creating programs that teach problem solving, teamwork. financial responsibility and job training. Programs need to be focused on physical health and well-being. You have to involve the local community. The people who live in the favelas have a build your own mentality and a do it yourself community spirit so the right kind of help can make a difference, .

Cities Without Hunger is building community organic gardens in the favelas in the East Zone of São Paulo. They developed community gardens, school gardens and greenhouses on public and private unused land. The gardeners are selling their fresh vegetables to the residents in the favelas at a fair price. Some restaurants have bought as well but the community comes first. I was lucky to be given a tour of a few of the gardens by Hans DieterTemp, Jonas Steinfeld and the people in the favelas who proudly and successfully run their gardens and produce business. Jonas Steinfeld came as a volunteer from Germany and has stayed on as an employee. We were glad to have him translating.

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We saw three gardens The first was Horta Sao Mateus. Four families take care of it. It is run by Genival de Farias who spent a long time explaining how the garden worked.

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Senhor Genival was talking about the fact that no one wants to use the land under the power lines so that is where they put their garden.

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They grow mostly leafy green vegetables which I was told grow fast which makes them a good thing to plant. They also have a variety of medicinal herbs and organic bananas.

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The second garden  was Horta Fazendinha Imperador.

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This one was run by Jose Vieira Aparecida and his family. (Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love that pot).

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It was his mother who started to plant herbs on this abandoned area and Cities With Hunger helped them turn it into an urban farm. (happy customers)

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They plant lettuce which they say sells best in the neighborhood. Señhor Jose told me that he used to be very fat and unhealthy until he started working in the garden.

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We had lunch at the third garden Horta Da Tia Bela. First we went to their home where they were cooking lunch.

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Dona Florisbela Azevedo Silva  and family cooked a beautiful healthy meal with fruit and vegetables from the garden.

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I loved the green papaya dessert.

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Dona Florisbela and her husband Senhor Valdomiro work in the garden everyday. He is 92 years old.

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They transformed a garbage dump into a working farm complete with chickens. (It’s an egg tree)

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It is said that the one quality necessary for success is persistence, to persevere in the face of all odds. That is what these people and these gardens represented to me. The self-esteem, pride, laughter, friendliness, sense of humor and confidence they have all come from working hard, building something that was not there before and knowing that they are doing a good a job.

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It seems like such a good solution to ease some of the poverty in the favelas. Brazil has a good climate for agriculture. It isn’t as easy in Brazil as it is in the States to set up and get funding for these programs. There is a lot of government red tape and corruption and changes take a long time. It is hard  watching them spend so much money on building for the Olympics when programs like this could really make a difference. The gap between the rich and poor in Latin America has always been a big problem with Brazil leading the pack. This is a great organization to get involved with and if you want to help or have any questions you should definitely  contact them.
The website is Cities without Hunger and twenty-eight dollars will buy seeds for a year. http://cidadessemfome.org/en/

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Thank you to all the people who opened up their gardens and made the delicious lunch. It was my honor to spend some time with you.

Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

 

Bend It Like Niemeyer

Bend It Like Niemeyer

“Here, then, is what I wanted to tell you of my architecture. I created it with courage and idealism, but also with an awareness of the fact that what is important is life, friends and attempting to make this unjust world a better place in which to live.” Oscar Niemeyer

I wish I could say I thought of that but I took the title from the Guardian. Maybe some of you not Brits had missed it.

One of Brazil’s greatest architects was Oscar Niemeyer who was known for his curved spaces and ramps. Beauty, spatial drama and lightness was more important to him than functionality. His use of concrete and steel was done in ways that had not been seen before. He died in 2012 at 104, a world-renowned architect, with hundreds of works in Europe, the Americas and Africa.

Niemeyer became a member of the Communist party in 1945. In 1964, when a military coup overthrew the government, Niemeyer was threatened and resettled in France and did not return to Brazil until the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. He designed the communist headquarters in Paris.

Oscar Niemeyer worked alongside Le Corbusier on the UN buildings in New York and his designs for Brasília earned the city a Unesco World Heritage status. Niemeyer received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988, the highest award in the profession, for his Cathedral of Brasília. ( not my photo)

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I am a wannabe architect and a fan of beautiful buildings and could not wait to see his structures in Brazil.
Some of Niemeyer’s most famous and recent work can be found in the city of Niterói across the bay from Rio. Niteroi has more buildings designed by him than any other city outside of Brasília where he redesigned the capital city.

The Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC) overlooks Guanabara Bay.

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The museum is a direct response to the natural topography of the bay.  The curve of the structure matches the curve of Sugarloaf.

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The building is the anti gallery white cube space. You can see the relationship of art, architecture and the surrounding landscape.

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The Theatre of Niteroi is another great example of Niemeyer style.

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The drawing on the front by Niemeyer is done on each individual tile.

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The green and yellow color scheme represents Brazil’s flag.

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Oscar Niemeyer designed several of the buildings in Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo. Roberto Burle Marx and Otávio Agusto de Teixeira Mendes provided the park’s landscape architecture. The park opened in 1954.

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The Bienal was built to host a biannual art exhibition which started in 1951.

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São Paulo was the second city in the world after Venice to do this. A major art exhibition is held here every two years.

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I had seen photos of the interior before and didn’t recognize it because of the sharp contrast of the completely rectangular patterns on the outside to the flowing circular forms inside. (not my photo)

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The Marquise was also designed by Niemeyer. It’s a large, covered space that curves through the park behind the Niemeyer buildings and connects the Modern Art Museum to the playground and an outdoor restaurant. It’s used now as a place for people to relax, skate, and rollerblade.

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Oscar Niemeyer designed the Oca auditorium in 1951. The white domed structure is now used for traveling art exhibits. The full name is Pavilhão Lucas Nogueira Garcez, and it was built to commemorate the city’s 400th anniversary in 1951.

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It is called the “oca” because it resembles the traditional Native American dwelling.

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The interior has 4 levels, each connected by a ramp that spirals around.

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In 2004 Niemeyer co-designed the Park’s Auditorium with the “giant red tongue”.

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This futuristic building was in the original design of the park but was not built until much later.

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The Copan was one of Niemeyers early masterpieces. It is an imposing S-shaped building in the Centro district of São Paulo. Having studied some architecture, the Copan for me has always been a symbol of São Paulo. This is the largest residential building in Brazil, and, reportedly, the most populated single residential building in the world with room for seventy businesses on the first floor. It has its own zip code. The downtown area is a bit seedy but i’m sure with gentrification the apartments are being restored.

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Niemeyer went to the office everyday to work on his designs and oversee his projects till his death at 104. He believed in using architecture as a way to create a better world through better design.

Special thanks to my guides Arthur Simoes in São Paulo and Gabriel Morand in Rio for their knowledge, patience and stories about an architect that I have admired for a long time.

Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

Street Art In Brazil

Street Art In Brazil

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” Banksy

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You don’t have to look for street art in Brazil because in cities like Rio and Sao Paulo, you will see it  every where. (Sao Paulo)

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It is part of the Brazilian culture now and a big influence on urban art throughout the world. (Sao Paulo)

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Urban Art In Brazil falls into two categories – street art for everyone to see and enjoy and graffiti writing which seems to be for other graffiti writers – with coded tags, style of letter and specific color palettes. Graffiti art has rules, specific use of materials (almost always spray paint), easy recognizable styles and a history. (Sao Paulo)

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Street art uses many different materials (paintbrush, computer generated images and spray paint). (Sao Paulo –  Beco de Batman)

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Street art engages us as we walk or drive by and see something beautiful, sad, funny or painful. (Sap Paulo)

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Graffiti art always seems like personal message that we are seeing.

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Both are subversive art movements where work is displayed in a public setting for a brief period. (Rio)

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It is always the knowing that it wont be there the next time I come that makes it more special to me – that it wasn’t painted to be there forever. (Sao Paulo)

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Tagging is different from graffiti. It is known in Brazil as pichacao. (Rio)

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The tagger wants to see his name on a wall and has no interest in aesthetics. It is all over Brazil as well. (Rio)

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Brazil’s street art is very diverse and always willing to challenge the political, environmental and social climate. (Rio – Lapa)

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Urban art is different in Brazil then in other countries because it is everywhere with an abundance of styles, colors and techniques. (Sao Paulo)

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In March 2009, the Brazilian government passed a law making street art and graffiti legal if done with the consent of building owners. (Sao Paulo-Kobra)

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It is all around from the favelas to the upper class neighborhoods with consent or without. (Rio)

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The walls that exist all over the cities whether urban topography or security provide huge spaces for painting. (Sao Paulo)

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The cities of Brazil are a giant canvas for the self-expression of their artists. (Sao Paulo)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

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JAZ