Tag Archives: Recife

The dreamy, sexy sculptures of Brennand

Photo by Valdiney Pimenta/ Flickr

Ceramist Francisco Brennand is probably the greatest Brazilian sculptor in activity. Inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso, Joán Miró and Fernand Léger, that he met during his studies in Paris, he developed a style that mixes surrealism and anatomy, fertility goddesses and tribal totems.

The best place to see his production is his personal museum, Oficina Brennand, in Recife. It is installed in the old ceramic tile factory built by his father in 1917 and displays not only thousand of pieces of his art but also a garden conceived by great landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx. The New York Times just wrote about it.

Photo by Graham Stanley/ Flickr

Continue reading The dreamy, sexy sculptures of Brennand

Recife and Olinda: Brazilian Carnival beyond Rio


Giant dolls in the streets of Olinda
Olinda's Carnival/2009. Photo by Raul DS/Flickr

By José Alberto Gonçalves Pereira*

Rio, Salvador, Recife or Olinda? Which town promotes the best carnival in Brazil? It is a very arguable question and I reckon I´m not the right person to answer it. You might distrust my response if I told you that I am traveling this week to the Northeast to enjoy my ninth carnival in Olinda and Recife. These neighboring towns on the coast of the state of Pernambuco are among the best places in Brazil for those interested in popular street culture. Olinda and Recife dispute the trophy of best carnival of Pernambuco – or maybe Brazil. Both cities have common cultural features, especially the lead carnival rhythm, frevo, a high-speed march played by brass bands, that includes umbrella-swinging and steps derived from capoeira.

No one in Brazil is crazy to deny that Rio stages the most beautiful samba carnival in the world. Also, I would be dishonest if I did not pay tribute to the exciting Salvador carnival, which brings together a multitude to its streets to sing and dance animated by trios elétricos (trucks equipped with a powerful sound system and a band on top of it) and blocos afros (Afro-Brazilian cultural groups). Both carnivals deserve your attendance at least once in your terrestrial life. Continue reading Recife and Olinda: Brazilian Carnival beyond Rio

Zeppelin over the tropics

“We ran upstairs to the open porch and saw the colossal Graf Zeppelin float by above us, sunshine reflecting from its silver sides”, describes Alicia Momsen Miller, that was five in 1930, when she first saw the dirigible. Three years later, together with her two brothers, she was one of the first kids to ever fly in the Graf Zeppelin. By then, it had an established route between South America, Europe and the US.

Alicia’s father was an American diplomat and lawyer based in Rio. He was offered a free trip from Rio to Chicago  to visit the World’s Fair, named “A Century of Progress”. Her mother visited the airship and said, shocked, that the fabric looked like you could poke a hole through it with your finger. “She was horrified, deciding never to trust her children in such a thing”, remembers Alicia. “But my father insisted they look at the accommodations in the gondola, and they ascended the short sturdy ladder. ‘What a surprise!’,  my mother said, ”The large living room with its big windows had a number of attractive chairs and tables, and down the hall were wonderful  roomy double staterooms.’ She felt the mattresses, and found them comfortable. ‘If anything happens, at least we’ll all be together’, she said”. And so they traveled. Continue reading Zeppelin over the tropics