The Olympic Games open in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro this summer, and at home, an exciting new exhibition called Brazil to Brent opens at the Library at Willesden Green.
The exhibition asks what it means to be Brazilian in Brent. The Brent Magazine spoke to Julia Evangelista, the artist leading the project, to find out more. "The whole point of this project was to give Brazilians a chance to celebrate themselves, and to say in their own words what it means to be Brazilian. One of the most important things that the people we talked to stressed was the diversity of Brazil. Many emphasised that there are numerous sub-cultures and much more to the country than just samba and carnival.
"A theme that came up again and again was the importance of community. In Brazil, people spend a lot of time together. It's a very inclusive society, from the many games and sports that we play that involve the young and the old, to the music, and the food we eat. We do things with other people and build ties this way. Relationships are very important.
"Likewise, in Brent, Brazilians have kept this social aspect of their culture. For instance, in Brazil many shops, not just cafes, will have tables and chairs for customers to sit and chat. If you go to Brazilian shops in Brent you'll see the same thing at hairdressers and butchers! We like to mingle.
"Brazilians have really adopted Brent as their home, it's even called "Little Brazil", by some. People will travel especially to Willesden just to buy the Brazilian meat and delicacies that they can't find elsewhere in
London. And the Brazilian community has integrated well into Brent; our cafes, hairdressers and boutiques have visits from all different kinds of people.
"I would encourage everyone to come along and have a look at what's going on at this exhibition. It is very much a collaborative project, which will grow from people's input. There will be a chance to try dance, music, listen to stories, attend a family workshop and even puppetry. Everyone is welcome and we really hope to see many people taking part, getting to know the people they live and work with."
Brazil to Brent is being developed by Brent's Heritage team in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre and Brazilian artist Julia Evangelista, from Seethrough Theatre.
The exhibition and workshops run from 1 July to 18 September.
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