Horizontal, color image. View of Praça Raul Soares, in Belo Horizonte, where CURA 2021 takes place
View of Praça Raul Soares, in Belo Horizonte, where CURA - Urban Art Circuit 2021 takes place. Photo: Cadu Passos / Service Area

From Sapucaí street, next to Belo Horizonte's Central subway station, you can see 18 graffitied gables. Considered the first street art viewpoint in the world, the place overlooks the works generated in the five editionsof the Urban Art Circuit, CURA. In this year, the festivalsays goodbye to the iconic view and arrives at Praça Raul Soares, ground zero of the city.

To get from one point to another, we walked along Av. Amazon. On its shores we find Jungle Mother of the Boy River, the first gable painted by an indigenous artist in the world, made by Daiara Tukano at CURA 2020. “We asked permission to, then, pour into this new territory, rich in history and memory: a circular square, a place for crossings and crossings”, he says. Priscila Amoni, creator of the festival alongside Juliana Flores and Janaína Macruz.

The investigation of the territory was the first milestone of this edition. Considered the geographic center of Belo Horizonte, Praça Raul Soares is configured as a crossroads. It connects the eastern, western, northern and southern regions of the city, as well as being a point of intersection of cultures. The floor of the space, made in Portuguese mosaic, is full of Marajoara graphics – an indigenous people considered extinct, which survives in their descendants. The fountain, in the center of the square, reminds us of the image of the Chakana, the Inca cross – a people originally from Peru, the country where the mouth of the Amazon River is located.

The Chakana adds a new layer of meaning to this territory, which is divided into three parts “which represent three worlds: the underworld, of the dead; the world we live in, of the living; and the upper world, of the spirits”, share the idealizers. It was by reading the signs of this square that CURA 2021 was created. “We want to dive into this place to connect with the life that pulsates there, yesterday and today, in the asphalt, buildings, shops, bars, churches and hell. We want to open a portal, create dimensions, enter other worlds within our own world, connect with other beings and existences, change the rhythm of life and everyday life”, explains Priscila Amoni.

Thus, in June 2021, the meetings that would design this edition of the festival began. To this end, they invited two artists to join the curatorship: Naine Terena – master of arts, doctor in education and woman of the Terena people – and Flaviana Lasan – producer and educator specialized in teaching History and Latin America, with research focused on the history of art. produced by women.

In a press conference held on September 22, Naine shared her views on the curatorial process: “I think that, above all, we had the opportunity to exercise listening, to exercise the power of a thought that escapes the routine, to see the perspectives of gather knowledge, encounters, different materials and production supports”. For Flaviana, this led to two main dimensions of the festival: “The first, of the body, in constant struggle for the preservation of memories, and the second, in the supernatural condition, which helps us to organize the absurd that is everyday life and helps to realize what is unknown”.  

the pour

This edition of the Urban Art Circuit, which began on October 21, features painting of the floor of Av. Amazonas and three gables, as well as bringing an urban installation, an experience to Praça Raul Soares and generating a catalog of records.

On the gable of the Levy Building, the Huni Kuin healing corners are painted by Kassia Rare Karaja and the Colectivo Mahku – Movement of Huni Kuin artists. “We really need [healing]: Brazil and the planet need it. I chose a painting for this moment of pandemic and irreparable losses”, says Kassia. Ed-Mun, from Minas Gerais, is responsible for the gable of the Paula Ferreira Building: “It is an art in homage to writing, communication through symbols and graphics, inspired by Marajoara art, but with a contemporary urban style that is 3D graffiti”. The third gable will be occupied by Mag Magrela, selected in the public call foramong 327 applicants from 21 Brazilian states. Giramundo, a puppet theater group from Minas Gerais that has just completed 50 years of history, will be responsible for an unprecedented installation at the fountain in the square. 

On October 29, the floor of Av. Amazonas receives ritual painting by Sadith Silvano and Ronin Koshi, artists from the Shipibo people of Peru. The work will be painted non-stop, 24 hours a day. “With great joy and satisfaction, we spread our culture through the murals we created. On the murals we stamp the knowledge of our ancestors”, declares Ronin Koshi, also an activist and indigenous leader.

Between the 30th of October and the 2nd of November, the square becomes the setting for the experience guided by Tainá Marajoara in a collective creation with Mayô Pataxó, Patrícia Brito and Silvia Herval. The centrality of the act will be in four key foods that have ancestral value: cassava flour, tucumã, peppers and beijus. During the action, there will be a scattering of seeds on the Portuguese stones. “We want to act in a process of counter-colonization, to flourish on the ground (albeit symbolically) jenipapo, tucumã, urucum… our history, our identity”, says Tainá. 

A dip in the urban and ancestral arts

It is worth noting that in addition to the crossings, Praça Raul Soares is, above all, a place for people and stories to meet. This feature of the territory is a fundamental part of CURA 2021. The edition places the square as the epicenter so that people can experience the city in another way, inserted in the middle of the works. “An immersive experience of artistic appreciation”, says Juliana Flores. The other creators of the festival add: “If the Sapucaí viewpoint invites us to see, Praça Raul Soares also incorporates being seen. In the square, the public will be in the center and the new gables will be like entities that look at us and guard us”.

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