A mixed media journalistic project which will look into the cultural landscape of Brazil and the representation of Afro-Brazilians.
What is the project about?
I'm currently working on my masters final major project which will focus on identity and displacement from the Nigerian diaspora in Afro-Brazilian communities. I will primarily focus on the carnival tradition, it's importance to Brazilians and what is it about the culture which not only influenced the ways of life of the people but it’s impact in other world cultures. I'm interested to know how different generations view Brazil’s carnival culture and whether it has a significance on the society as a whole in the way it retraces its roots and on the modern perspective.
Why did I chose this topic?
I’ve been interested in the Afro-Brazilian culture since my BA dissertation which was titled ‘Ceremonial Rituals: West Africa’s dance traditions and its influence of the contemporary culture of the Americas’. Back then during research and even more so now, I kept coming across findings of Nigeria’s impact in the cultural landscape of Brazil. It’s also been reported that after Nigeria, Brazil has the highest population of Nigerians in the world who are living in Brazil, either from the result of slavery or through immigration. I was curious to find out more on the topic as it isn’t something many people know about nor has there been any major discussions about it.
What media am I using to tell the story?
It’s going to be a mixed media project, using text and photography. I’m also considering including a short video of my interview subjects at work/ in the middle of their activities, i.e. a dancer rehearsing at samba school, a drum maker putting the finishing touches to the instrument or a dressmaker sewing sequins to the carnival costume.
I plan to spend one month in Brazil, travelling to the various Afro-Brazilian communities and collecting material that will be turned into a mixed media installation.
Who is my audience?
The final project is going to be mainly for a British audience as it is a topic which is very relevant today from the questions that are being raised on the issues of cultural identity, racism and colonisation. Organisations such as SOAS, the Stuart Hall Foundation and Autograph ABP are key places where such conversations are being held.
In the future, I’m hoping that with the material I will have from the project and what could further be developed, is to be able to produce an article or short interview snapshot for a Brazilian and Nigerian audience. For Brazil’s case, the piece could be for a publication which covers issues on the growing movement of reclaiming the country's black identity. On the other hand in Nigeria, the piece would be about trying to preserve the cultural roots of Afro-Brazilians in their ancestral home of Nigeria, and to keep the tradition and their heritage from becoming extinct.
Key thoughts that will be raised in the project:
*Are black people/ Afro-Brazilians respected/ acknowledged during the carnival season and afterwards?
*Over the last few years, more people are reclaiming their black identity. Many Brazilians have self-reported to be non-whites, an area that is growing each day. Is this the result of a major change in perception and public opinion? And what steps have been taken to acknowledge the country’s black identity? They play such a huge role in the cultural and historical landscape of Brazil.
*Even with the change of public perception, cultural issues of identity still influences the way black people are treated and underrepresented. Why is it that they get treated like inferiors compared to ‘white’ Brazilians?
Where will the money go to?
Travelling to a foreign country is not so cheap, its also quite challenging. With your help, I would be able to get a return flight to Rio, and pay for other travelling, living expenses and accommodation to reach other parts of Brazil such as Bahia. I will also be able to upgrade on photography equipments such as a medium format camera, film rolls, tripod and microphone recorder.
As a thank you to everyone who will be part of my project– from the interview subjects to the translator (who will help me navigate Brazil and the language), I would like to give a little thank you gift to them.
Thank you so much in advance for your donations, I appreciate all your help.