A Beleza do Suburbio

Back to it!

22 August 2012

“After all our ideas and efforts, the photography project will not be taking place during this adventure as several extenuating circumstances brought us to the realization that now just isn’t the right time. But now, with more time to plan, more time to organize and understand out intentions, motives and goals, I think we can do a lot more with this project the next time around… most probably next June—so stay tuned!



Just short of 1 year ago, I posted the paragraph above. After more time to ruminate, consider, think, plan and build courage, A Beleza do Subúrbio is finally on its way!! I have spent the last few months putting together proposals, looking for funding, creating syllabi and curricula, and defining and redefining my role and intention for the next few months.

I graduated NYU in May, got a (small) grant to make this happen, am in the midst of getting my Kickstarter page up and running, and I have a ticket booked from Porto Alegre to Salvador on September 20th—all with the belief that by December, I will be leading a 2 hour long walking tour through the neighborhood of Subúrbio Ferroviário, with a number of students presenting photographs they’ve taken, and telling stories to those who come to listen (hopefully that means some of you!).

As it’s been a long time since I’ve written and given updates about the project, I figured it was time to reconnect, and remind those of you who have been following from the beginning that this is still happening! In order to bring you back into the space that this project sits in, I wanted to share some of the creativity that I am about to embark to Bahia to work with.

The main intention of this project is to promote and provoke creativity through local art and history. Just a quick run down of the project:

ImageEight weeks of workshops that will culminate in a walking tour led by a cortejo, or traditional Brazilian marching band (think carnaval, drums, lots of singing and dancing…a solid party) and the students involved in the program. Students will present their photo projects at the site at which photos were taken. Guests will be given a walking tour of the community, stopping at each site, and hearing the stories and the histories of the different photos and locations visited.

Photos will be sold at the exhibition as well as distributed as rewards for donations (these will be more relevant when the Kickstarter is up), and the money raised will go to establishing a more public location for the gallery, Acervo da Laje, so that the community can show the student’s photos as well as hold future community programs. We want to make this space not only more accessible to community residents (as the gallery now finds itself on the third floor of Dinho’s home), but also self-sustaining.

Ok! So that’s just the core concept of it. But what I really want to tap into is the inspiration behind it. I’ve posted stories and images, and I have acknowledged the incredible creative spirit innate to this community.

Dinho and I had countless conversations about the different ways to build resilience, to prevent violence, and to find rehabilitation, safety, and hope after being exposed to trauma. The place we seemed to continually come back to was that of introspection and creation. One day, while sitting in the Acervo, Dinho took out his guitar and a stack of what seemed like hundreds of loose, sunburnt sheets of music lyrics—songs he enjoyed playing, or had written himself/with others.

One of the questions I kept asking was how Dinho managed to work so closely to the issue of violence in his own community, while still protecting himself from the immeasurable amount of suffering and loss he had experienced in doing so. He answered, “music”.

I asked him to send me the lyrics to a song of his that he would feel comfortable with me sharing. This is what I received (I translated briefly, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t think a translation can quite capture what is expressed):

Outro mosaico (José Eduardo Ferreira Santos)

 Juntando as peças

É possível cada história

ImageEntrelaces de saudade

Tantos flashs de memórias

É só a ida

Nos momentos de vitória

Amanhece a liberdade

Que te faz feliz agora

Mas o mosaico é o outro

Cuja vida não termina

Na estação do velho pai

Mas o mosaico é um rosto

De beleza feminina

Que agora dorme em paz

Jamais te perco

Geografia ilusória

No meu peito há uma história

Em que tu vais florescer

Do mesmo jeito

Seu amor me revigora

E ainda espero pela hora

Em que vamos renascer

Another Mosaic


Picking up the pieces

Of every story, possibly

Sinews of nostalgia

Flashing memories

It is merely departure

In the moments of victory

The awakening of liberty


That makes you happy, today

The mosaic is a different one

Whose life does not end

At the great father’s station

But the mosaic is of a face

Of feminine beauty

That today, sleeps in peace


Never will I lose you

Illusive geography

In my chest there is a story

In which you have yet to blossom

Your love reinvigorates me

still, the same

And here I wait for the day

In which we will be reborn


He sent me two other songs: one inspired by his mother, and the other song a samba he co-wrote with one of his students. Ultimately, this is just a glimpse of what we want to be able to share. One of the things that most impresses me when I step into Bahia, is just how open people are with you. I thank Dinho for the ease with which he sent me these words, although deeply personal. I firmly believe that in order to get the students to share their stories with us, we must first share ours with them.

Considering this, I figured it would be a good time to get you to participate. If you feel inspired to share a story, a poem, a song, a drawing, (whatever works for you) with the students, please do! Tell me about your home, about what you find to be beautiful about it, maybe just a family recipe, or a picture that ties it all together. I would love to be able to bridge some of these gaps and get started at my home base before I ask the students to do the same in theirs.

Mine are scattered throughout this post…

Send all goodies to Marcella.hausen@gmail.com



This entry was published on August 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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