Juazeiro do Norte, in Ceará, is located in a curious region, in the center of the Northeast, close to the borders with Piauí, Pernambuco and Paraíba. It was left out of the colonizers' routes that took all types of minerals from Brazil to Europe. On the other hand, the climate allowed grazing and, with it, rich leather production.

This region forms a kind of valley, surrounded by mountains and a forest, the first to be preserved in Brazil by Unesco, the Araripe-Apodi National Forest, which is managed by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).
It received and receives different migrations from the Northeast, but its greatest influence came from the presence of the Catholic priest, born in 1844, in Crato, Cícero Romão Batista, known as Padre Cícero or Padim Ciço.

Expelled from the traditional Catholic church for his adherence to syncretism and his respect for other religions, considered heresies, he encouraged, among the city's population, the idea that in each house it was necessary to have an altar in the front and a studio in the back. . Understanding a studio as a space for everything that refers to “doing”. Be it food, masks, toys, sculptures, musical instruments, tools. A highly respected educator and considered a reference for social behavior.

This may be one of the explanations for the sensation of being in the middle of an exceptionally horizontal society, apparently frozen in time, almost pre-industrial. Since then, no large factories have been installed on the outskirts and, as a result, a working class resulting from a traditional bourgeoisie, that of the production line, which clocks in with cards, has not been created. The majority work in services, education, commerce and crafts. It is a society that respects and worships masters, citizens who brought their family stories of popular culture to the community.

In 2003, the Living Treasures Law was enacted, which recognizes more than 120 masters from the region and grants them a lifetime scholarship with a minimum wage, a type of retirement that allows them to continue passing on their wisdom and being a reference for young people. Dozens of artisans offer their work at Centro Mestre Noza, Association of Artisans of Juazeiro do Norte.
In the National Forest, Master Galdino, a biodiversity specialist, knows everything about animals, medicinal plants, flowers and bees and has become one of the most important guides in the region.

In Potengi, next to Lagoa de Sassaré, Master Antônio Luiz, the oldest representative of the Reisado do Couro (one of the traditions created alongside the Reisado do Congo), born in 1957, teaches the rituals to the new generations who learn to “play ” with the same masks, clothing and in-betweens, built in 1978.
The legend of Reisado is originally European, here in Brazil it has been revisited in the poorest neighborhoods since the 19th century, where, through “facetas”, typical masks, children transform into kings during the performances.

In Crato, the Cariri Sérvulo Esmeraldo Cultural Center was built during the pandemic, opened on April 1, 2022 and is part of the cultural equipment network of the Ceará State Department of Culture. A deactivated historic building is located, measuring around 50 thousand square meters, built in the 1940s to house the Seminary of the Order of the Holy Family for religious education and closed in 1969. From 1973 it operated as the Manoel de Abreu Hospital and ended being deactivated in 2014.
“The Carirí Cultural Center is managed through a partnership between the Department of Culture of the Government of Ceará, Secult Ceará and the Instituto Mirante de Cultura e Arte, which understands the need to invest as a public policy in education, health, territory, in a survival strategy where Culture is the result of several structural actions for human development”, says Rosely Nakagawa, director of the Centro Cultural do Cariri, created Galeria Fotoptica with Thomas Farkas in 1979, is a curator and cultural manager, and She was one of the first curators at SESC Pompéia in São Paulo in the 1980s.

The Center, with support from the population, technicians and professionals from universities, institutes and associations, has become a source of learning and work for the region. It houses state-of-the-art radio, design rooms, painting, drawing and sculpture studios. It has a fully equipped space for theater and shows, called Palco Escola, directed by Américo Córdula, who teaches stage presence, bringing the strength of ancestry, through performances, theater and dance.
The exhibition rooms currently feature three exhibits that relate to the history and memory of the place. This is a clear intention of the center's director and curator Bitu Cassundé, Heritage and Memory manager.

The experience appears to be collaborative, as it should always be, it houses artists and curators who participated in the construction of the center, such as Luiz Santos and Carlos Henrique Soares, who assembled Amostra Prenascimento, with works created from materials from the demolition of the old building.

The exhibition by Efrain Almeida, from Ceará, Encarnado, brings together, in addition to his traditional sculptures, a sequence of paintings specially developed for the celebrations of the center's two years.

Photography curator, writer and editor Diógenes Moura was invited to revisit the exhibition initially set up in 2018, for the Fotofestival SOLAR, held in the city of Fortaleza and which was later presented at the Afro Brasil Museum in São Paulo, adding themes such as the national tragedy caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the fires in the Amazon. In Rio de Janeiro, with more than 300 photographs, Terra em Transe expanded the portrait of a country marked by enormous contradictions.

“To update the exhibition at the Cultural Center, the editing was done alongside photographer Allan Bastos. (…) Terra em Transe is an exhibition made to hurt, silent, merciless about the great abyss that is Brazil. For this reason, each photograph needs time to be seen. It is an exhibition contrary to the world of speed.”
The Centro Cutural do Carirí is a precious space, which hosts conversation circles, picnics in its park, outdoor music shows, an initiative worthy of being told and supported.

Thanks:
To the entire team that welcomed us, helpful and full of stories to tell. People who like what they do. Thank you Bibiana Belisário, one of the most competent communication managers I have met; to Samuel Macedo, our driver, photographer nominated for the Pipa Prize; to Pamela Quiros and Aécio Diniz, responsible for the future inauguration of the radio, and to everyone who accompanied us. To Rosely Nakagawa, for her impeccable performance and for the invitation, and to Tiago Santana, director-president of the Instituto Mirante de Cultura e Arte.

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