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The Rio of Navigators

There are many names that can be used to describe a person travelling displaced between countries and continents: traveller, immigrant, tourist, refugee, navigator… Each one of these names has a distinct meaning for their presence, a meaning that can change not only through historical times, but according to the position of the person that it names and their social, economic or political place.

Reflecting on the mobility of different peoples and the occupation of different places is, today, to look into structures, vicissitudes and hardships of a world where crossing borders becomes utopian and political fact, often selectively prohibited.

Considered a portal and sounding board for Brazil, the port-city of Rio de Janeiro, ever since its creation after the invasion of Guanabara Bay by the Portuguese, has witnessed and been constituted by immigrations or migrations, either forced or voluntary, invasions and confrontations that once traced and now trace singular designs in the construction of its physical and human landscape. Enslaved peoples, forced to remain here, or peoples who sought new opportunities for life, all workers submitted to the historical and political processes of this locus, became the fundamental subjects of the conflicts, tragedies and marvels of the construction of Brazilian identity.

The Rio of Navigators, constituted as a poetic-historical narrative exposed to crossings and transversalities of different voices and times that pass and cross each other, tells and reveals, through a large number of historical and contemporary works, paintings, sculptures, photographs, objects and documents, part of a history collected in remains and pieces. Like any attempt to extend an arc of time which covers six centuries, including the first two decades of the 21st century, the failures and lack of information and iconography make of the exhibition a composition in DIY.

The Museu de Arte do Rio, in its readings of the history of the city, aims to deepen its project of asserting itself as an observatory of the influxes of information about the territory, as well as opening itself up as a space for expression for those who construct the material and immaterial patrimony of Brazilian art and culture.

This exhibition is the result of great effort and dedication by several teams that have worked to construct a trans-historical reading of works and documents, so we can reflect on the ways of life that formed the city and continue to challenge the interpenetration between established citizens and visitors, forms of use and the democratization of public space, urbanization and topographical occupation by property owners or by self-proclaimed builders. It should be noted that there is no territory without dispute, and the conflicts, as well as being geographic, are also linguistic, cultural, economic and political. In all of this, is the search and will to anchor in ports of diversity, allowing us to find out about a history constituted by exchanges between every continent, forming a place that still seeks to become another: one that belongs to all of those who inhabit it.