This summer TakingITGlobal hosted its very first AYV LIVE! and Partner Appreciation Event in Rio de Janeiro, to showcase and celebrate the work created by youth from around Rio and Brazil who participated in our 2015 Portuguese Cohort of the Adobe Youth Voices Program.
On June 23, 2015 the youth participants and educators of TIG’s AYV partner sites in Rio were invited to exhibit their projects and check out what their colleagues created throughout the semester. Family and friends of the youth artists were also invited to share in the celebration.
Over the past 6 months, youth ages 13 to 18 participating in the AYV program, were prompted to create digital media pieces that reflect their perspective on social issues that affect them, their communities and the city they live in. Our eleven partner sites in Brazil worked with underprivileged youth from the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife to help them strengthen skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, by producing meaningful digital media art.
The Mangueira Samba School Committee kindly offered to host the celebration so that TakingITGlobal could run this event in a place that is meaningful to this audience! Thanks to Mangueira community, where one of our partner sites in Rio de Janeiro is based, we were able to host an event within the community, with the support and presence of its local inhabitants. The exhibition took place at Quadra da Mangueira, a place that is the pride and joy of the community. In this space that is similar to a gymnasium, the Mangueira Samba School rehearses all year long to compete at the traditional and very popular Carnaval Parades.
The guests were greeted at the central area of Quadra da Mangueira, where AREVAH`s artwork was showcased. This collection, created by youth from Ilha do Governador community, aimed to expose sides of Rio de Janeiro that the main media will not usually show.
“Our kids wanted to visually show how they see the city, that there are two faces of Rio de Janeiro: one for the rich and one for the poor. We don't see that being discussed much on TV or in movies. So we wanted to show it ourselves. Some art pieces look at this issue from a more rational perspective, showing the pain that it causes for everyone living in the city, be them rich or poor, but some art pieces carry hopeful messages, such as appreciation for the popular spaces, or favelas, love for their community, and an invitation for people to unite and work together for a more beautiful, more equal, and safer Rio de Janerio” Explained AREVAH`s AYV Educator, Angelo Oliveira.
The event had keynotes from Adobe Youth Voices Portuguese Education Coordinator, Bruna Aguiar; Adobe Youth Voices Geo Lead Coordinator, Elaine Cavalheiro; and guest speaker, author Jessé Andarilho. He spoke to the youth artists telling them a little bit about his own story and life trajectory. Jessé was born and raised in Antares, one of the most marginalized communities in Rio. He never even thought he would graduate from High School as a youth. But he did, and he found his creative side and allowed it to flourish. He became famous for writing a book on his cellphone during his daily train trips down to Centro, downtown Rio de Janeiro. Since then he never stopped writing again. Now he writes books, news, and for reports for Brazilian television as well, aiming to give visibility to “marginalized culture”.
“We don't need society to tell us that 'the doors are open, you guys can come in!'. We don't want that, we just want to do our art without being discriminated. Recently, the Class C, as they call people like us who live in popular territories, we became news because we are consuming now more then ever. The Favela is now respected because of how much we consume, because we buy stuff. And that’s cool, but we don't want to be recognized because we buy stuff. We want to be recognized because we write books, because we write music, because we dance ballet, because we dance passinho. My mom used to tell me to stay in and not go out, and to not get mixed with the marginalized population, to not 'do art', because these people are looked down upon, they’re trouble. But I do hang out with the marginalized, and I am an artist and I am extremely proud to say that I contribute to our Marginalized Culture” shared Jessé.
After the first round of the exhibition and the welcoming speeches, Nelcy, a member of the choreographic body of Mangueira Samba School, welcomed everyone, to enjoy a delicious dish made by her and other member of the Samba School.
On the second round of the exhibition, our guests were taken to the auditorium upstairs where videos made by youth from our partner organization were showcased, each one followed by Q&A with the youth artists and an open discussion for the audience.
The youth artists had a chance to introduce their work, talk about what inspired them to pick each topic, and answer questions from the audience after the screening of each project. The audience carried terrific discussions and shared their diverse points of view over the issues being discussed. It was impressive to see how the topics selected by the youth were topics that spoke to the hearts of many of those in the room. Topics that were discussed ranged from homelessness, women empowerment, abortion, public transit, the importance of art and dance for underprivileged youth, preservation of natural resources and life in the favela.
To wrap up and celebrate this event, we had a roda de capoeira by youth from AREVAH, and a passinho performance by the youth from REDECAPP Casa Viva.
By promoting this program and this event, TakingITGlobal gave room to empower and connect youth from different underprivileged communities giving them an opportunity to explore topics they care about and communicate their perspective on these issues to an audience that understands and lives with these issues. The presence of an audience that genuinely became engaged with the art comes to show that the youth perspective is valuable and rich.
With the help of TakingITGlobal, these organizations and educators will now be able to host their own exhibitions, promote debates in their communities, and create new projects in a sustainable way, to keep empowering youth to explore and communicate the issues that they really care about. By using creativity and having a safe place to share their thoughts with educators they trust, these youth were able to create inspiring and thought instigating artwork that they can show to their communities, locally and globally!
We would like to thank all those that made this event possible and a specially thank you to our partner sites in Brazil: Art Cult Mangueira, Centro Comunitário Manoel Vitorino, AREVAH, Espaço Cultural A Era Do Radio, REDECAPP Casa Viva, ABAS, Instituto Empreender Rio de Janeiro, Instituto Empreender Recife, CDI Bahia, CDI Ceará and EIC JAM.
It has been an honour to work with your educators and to bring the Adobe Youth Voices Program to youth from around the country. We thank you for you dedication and commitment to the AYV program and to helping youth in your community find their voice through media making.