To tell the story of the city is to tell the story of its characters. Lúcia Maria dos Santos, Aunt Lúcia, an icon of Carioca culture, especially in the region known as Little Africa, left us in September. But her legacy of struggle, wisdom and art remains alive. In tribute to this matriarch, the Museu de Arte do Rio inaugurates a new exhibition space in the library with the exhibition Little Africa and the MAR of Aunt Lúcia. In the same gesture that affirms female protagonism, it also opens the Women in the MAR Collection exhibition.
Utopia is a concept that refers to a dislocation and also to a belonging. A place that is not the one you live and a time that is not the one of right now, defined as they are by dissatisfactions, refusals and faults. Utopia is, therefore, a projection of a territory and a moment in which desires and rights are in some way satisfied and observed. Any utopia, therefore, is always formulated by a subject that occupies a certain position in the world. It is a place and a time of appeasement and rejoicing, imagined starting from a particular point of view. Based on an individual or community that designs, as opposed to a present that damages, a future in which they will be repaired due to needs and damage. The utopia of one person, therefore, always different from the utopia of anybody else. Those who have precarious or even vetoed access to housing, health and education, as well as being rightly afraid of suffering psychiatric or physical violence at any moment, conceive an ideal place that certainly differs from that imagined by a person who doesn’t suffer from the absence of even the most basic requirements of life.
Samba is a cultural complex. As well as music, it is a way of life and resistance of people against the violence of colonisation and the structural inequalities of Brazil. Of black origin, samba was born poor, mulato in the poetry and in the heart, and grew with the fate of joining together pieces of the dreams broken in the “great crossing”. Here, even in the hardships of forced labour, it expanded into the periphery of the federal capital — the Rio de Janeiro of the start of the 20th century — against all the marginalisation and criminalisation that was imposed upon it and became a national symbol; and one of the most powerful images of the country in the world and of the African diaspora in the Americas.
An exhibition from a feminist perspective should not only give value to the production of female artists, but also destabilize the traditional process of curation and seek new ways of producing meaning. In the elaboration of this project, over the period of two months we brought together collaborators from all sectors of the museum – security guards, receptionists, producers, administrative assistants, lawyers, journalists, designers, museologists, librarians and managers, among others – in a series of meetings to think about place of women, based on their private experiences. The problems, contradictions and difficulties were exposed in exercises and narratives and provided, bit by bit, support for the curatorial choices.