Brazil: Artists take performance to the street after government cancels exhibition

16 January 2019
Artists in Rio have staged a performance about torture outside a cultural centre after the government ordered it not be performed in public.
Photo: A voz do ralo é a voz de Deus / És Uma Maluca Facebook


Rio de Janeiro arts collective És Uma Maluca has staged a performance featuring nudity on the street after the government shown down an exhibition in an alleged move to prevent the performance from happening, reported The Guardian.

A voz do ralo é a voz de Deus (The voice of the drain is the voice of God) performance piece was scheduled to take place at the state-run Casa França-Brasil cultural centre on 13 January 2019, the final day of Literatura Exposta (Literature Exposed) exhibition, The Rio Times reported.

Alluding to torture during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964 to 1985), the performance includes a partially naked artist surrounded by hundreds of plastic cockroaches. It originally contained audio of newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro, but in the lead up to the exhibition it was replaced by the reading of cake recipes. Nwspapers used to print recipes when stories were censored during the dictatorship, according to The Guardian.

But when the state government got wind of the performance, it ordered Literatura Exposta be closed a day earlier than scheduled.

Rio de Janeiro State Governor Wilson Witzel said the issue was not with the performance itself, but because the exhibition had breached its contract by including a human performance that had not been approved, The Rio Times reported.

The exhibition’s curator, Álvaro Figueiredo, rejected this.

“I communicated in advance the content of the performances… and was authorised to go ahead,” he told The Rio Times.

On Facebook, És Uma Maluca said it is being censored. Determined not to be silenced, the group went ahead with the performance on 14 January, in front of Casa França-Brasil.

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