There are great things happening in Brazil! Our good friend Gui Chirst (interview here) will have a major exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, based on stunning series ‘Hoje é dia de folia’. If this sounds familiar to you, you might be right! In 2010 we did an exhibition in Amsterdam called ‘CFYE at the Wise Men Revelry’ based on the same series from Gui. Now it’s time for Rio de Janeiro to have a look at this wonderful series based on the yearly revelry.
‘Hoje é dia de folia’ is a series based on a yearly three kings (Wise men) revelry called ‘Folia de Reis’. Each year different revelry groups do dance and music performances, visit houses and ‘battle’ against each other. Folia de Reis seems to be dying out slowly, less people know about it every year. That’s why Gui Christ thought it was important to capture this impressive event. As having his own major exhibition is quite the accomplishment, we asked Gui a couple of questions.
“Photographing the event, I can share a bridge that crosses between the most different social connections: From a very poor favela / shantytown in Rio to galleries in Europe, North America and Asia.”
What is it that makes this event special for you?
Have you ever imagined yourself combining your everyday life experiences with other situations / experiences that you’d normally never have? The Wisemen revelry allows me to have this unique experience. Photographing the event, I can share a bridge that crosses between the most different social connections: From a very poor favela / shantytown in Rio to galleries in Europe, North America and Asia.
This event has a very social-political appeal. Most of the participants of the Wise Men revelry are from dirt-poor communities. Once a year they’ve got the opportunity to forget their problems and become a king, a wise men or a devil through folklore, role-playing their character. That is the focus of my photography: the ordinary worker that turns himself into a legend.
How did you get the opportunity to capture this event?
Once I was photographing in Rio de Janeiro’s downtown, when I met a small group playing music and dancing. As I never saw it before it triggered my curiosity. I wanted to know what they were celebrating! Talking to the group, I discovered this is an ancient tradition which came to Brazil during the colonization. It had become very popular between the African slaves, and because of that it suffered a lot of discrimination. Now, over a 150 years later, it has almost disappeared.
We know you’ve got many amazing series. Why did you choose to exhibit this one?
This folklore was almost forgotten. As it was unexplored, I could explore it and create a visibility of the event, through artistic photography and documentation. At the other hand, it gives me the opportunity to show a different image of Brazil, which has an intense folklore and very worthy people (poor or not)!