The Festival | Institutional 

Creative transpositions

Seeing horizons can arouse feelings that, when hopeful, allow us to glimpse as many possibilities as the vastness of the gaze can fill. If shared, common horizons tend to establish reverberant connections and recognitions, with multilateral encounters and learning. Therefore, the presence of disposition and critical sense is essential, making this unveiling a transforming experience, of perception of asymmetries and mutual strengthening of ties. 

In this aspect, artistic expressions constitute privileged channels for thinking about realities – past, present, and future. Because, by presenting both indicators of historical, cultural, and social diversity as well as elements for its understanding, such manifestations invite us to try alternative perspectives, fictional or not, to visualize, many times, previously unthinkable panoramas. 

To promote similar exchanges, reflecting on common heritages and particular identities, MIRADA – Ibero-American Festival of Performing Arts emerged 12 years ago intending to present scenic experiences from Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal, favor dialogs between their creators, and offer some of their productions to the public. In 2022, after the interruption caused by the pandemic, the event returns to the face-to-face scope, sharing shows, proposing meetings, and training activities. In the year of Brazil’s independence bicentennial, MIRADA’s sixth edition has Portugal as the honored country, giving rise to reflections aligned with the decolonial criticisms about the historical and sociocultural relations between the countries involved, whose consequences reverberate to the present day. 

The city hosting the festival, Santos, in addition to the symbolic character of a port region, of transits and connections, is also part of the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) for its performance in the audiovisual sector.  At this point of confluence, which refers to two pillars of Sesc – commercial and cultural exchanges –the institution sees in the artistic occupation of various city spaces, in partnership with local agents, the opportunity to reduce borders through culture and strengthen dialogs between different peoples. 

Danilo Santos de Miranda – Director of Sesc São Paulo 

Fabrics of an openwork

By Valmir Santos 

A social, artistic, and cultural event, a catalyst for narratives, ideas, aesthetics, and the whole handful of people, MIRADA – Ibero-American Festival of Performing Arts found itself startled in its tenth year. Like everything else in the world, in 2020, the pandemic intervened and pushed the sixth edition to 2022. Therefore, the journey carries with it a failed dramaturgy in terms of a biennial basis. Such as time, space, and place units exploded decades ago on the art planet. The Irishman Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) already predicted: “Fail again. Fail better”1. Related motto when rehearsing, repeating ad infinitum in the work of those who dance, act, perform. 

The most elementary yarn in current programming comes from the calendar. It happened that Portugal, the country that would be honored two years ago, appeared on the MIRADA stage in the same September of Brazil’s independence bicentennial.  

The involuntary conjunction gives rise to the question that the writer and translator Marilene Felinto addressed to the São Paulo International Book Biennial in July of this year: “(…) it is necessary to ask the question that does not want to remain silent — wouldn’t the fitting tribute, for the occasion, be to the literature of Portuguese-speaking African countries? Why to honor the colonizer and not the literary narrative of the colonization-sacrificed people?”2 she launched in an article in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. 

After all, Felinto continues, “these are times of post-colonial thinking intensification, consolidation of theories whose keywords are decolonization, social justice, reparation, human and civil rights, including here, even today, Indigenous peoples and blacks rights usurped and massacred in genocides from white European colonization.” 

From this point of view, the scenic journey taking place in Santos lists Portuguese, Brazilian, and other Latin American, Caribbean, and Spanish works in which most of their creators faced imperialist and diffuse practices of patriarchy and structuring cruelties in more diverse societies.  

Deep knowledge of the feeling of hatred underlying domination by class, race, gender, and sexuality, in the big houses of yesterday and today, the doctor and psychoanalyst Jurandir Freire Costa clarifies: “Cruelty is the act or desire to make oneself or another suffer physically and morally. Harming another, humiliating them, or attacking their bodily integrity, is an undesirable or heinous conduct, depending on the degree of the offense, but which can be easily accepted. It is enough to dehumanize our fellowman. It is enough to believe that they are not a moral subject like ‘us’ for the cruelty committed not to be perceived in its horror. Throughout history, racism, sexual prejudice, ethnic-religious intolerance, the indifference of the wealthy towards the poor, etc., show how easily we can dehumanize the ‘different,’ the ‘inferior,’ without losing a single night’s sleep.”3 

Coloniality of power 

Some works from the festival more directly echo aspects of the coloniality of power, a concept coined by Peruvian sociologist Aníbal Quijano (1928-2018) to remember the forms of exploitation and racialization of non-white peoples by European metropolises did not disappear with the independence of Latin American nations. 

Critical polyphony is exercised in works such as “Cosmos,” in which actresses, performers, and directors Cleo Diára, Isabél Zuaa, and Nádia Yracema, of Cape Verdean, Portuguese, and Angolan descent, respectively, revisit African mythology to fictionalize the birth of a new world accustomed to Afrofuturism and attentive to the legacy of ancestors and science. 

“Brasa,” by the visual and performance artist Tiago Cadete, focuses on migratory groups who chose Portugal or Brazil to study, work, or simply left their respective country for political reasons. 

In a transversal key, “Estreito/Estrecho,” the result of a partnership between Teatro Experimental do Porto (TEP) and Teatro La María, from Chile, pokes with a short stick the official historiography around the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães (1480-1521) . Five hundred two years ago, he led a Spanish expedition that “discovered” a natural passage in the extreme south of South America, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, later named after him, the Strait of Magellan. 

In “Língua Brasileira,” Coletivo Ultralíricos, from São Paulo, promotes a meeting between singer-songwriter Tom Zé and director Felipe Hirsch. The proposal is to show and hear the epic of the peoples who formed the Portuguese spoken in the country, their myths, and cosmogonies.  

However, the absence of Indigenous actors in the six-person cast was noticed at the capital’s opening season at the beginning of the year. Gap perception amplified in the festival panorama that also anchors body arts conceived directly by artists belonging to the native peoples of Brazil in rituals full of theatricality, dances, and performative actions of their own. 

It was up to a long-lived Peruvian troupe to represent the autochthonous dimension. The Yuyachkani Cultural Group provides, in “Discurso de Promoción,” a reflection against the grain of the inheritances linked to colonial social structures. The show reaffirms the Quechua and Aymara peoples’ traditions by dissecting the painting “Proclamación de la Independencia de Perú” (1904), a painting by Juan Lepiani (1864-1932) idealizing the act of the Argentine general José de San Martín (1778-1850) when emancipating the country from the Spanish crown in 1821. In the image’s foreground, on a balcony, there are only male and white figures of political and religious nobility. Secondly, below is the so-called people whose faces clash with the ethnic profile of the population of significant Andean proportion. 

As is well known, foundational aspects of the nation directly affect the contemporary life of citizens. An interdisciplinary artist, writer, and theorist born in Lisbon, with roots in Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, Grada Kilomba says that “a society that lives in denial, or even in the glorification of colonial history, does not allow new languages to be created. Nor does it allow responsibility, not morality, to create new configurations of power and knowledge. Only when power structures are reconfigured can the many marginalized identities finally reconfigure the notion of knowledge. Who knows? Who can know? Know what? And whose knowledge?”4 she ponders. 

Any being with a minimum of information knows and feels how humanity has lost its bearings on many planes. There are hunger, income concentration, diseases, wars, in short, morally reprehensible, and profitable ills for their respective multinationals.  

The self-perception of the playwright Santos Plínio Marcos (1935-1999), who considered himself “a reporter of a bad time,” is well known. To the point of calling one of his plays “Reportagem de um Tempo Mau,” a collage of texts taken to Teatro de Arena’s stage in São Paulo in 1964. In the mid-1990s, he complained that human miseries continued to serve him as raw material. “I have always been a reporter of the times we live in,”5 declared the writer, more guided by reality than by fiction, as he reasoned in an interview with the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. 

Documentary aspect 

Not without reason, most of the festival’s 36 works adopt creative procedures of documentary theater, or variations of it, to stage micro and macro problems that cry out for justice and are repeatedly ignored by the economic (the autophagy of capitalism?) and political (the imperfection of democracy?). Secular continuous motion from which instances of art never strayed from opposing themselves brandishing poetics of upheaval, of tiny or zero illusion, however with the wisdom that transformations are ingrained from the subject to later become the crowd. 

The thematic breadth is worthy of the complexity of our time, which in the design of the curatorship is close to a mural of the 21st century that is endangered and urgent. 

In this way, it is impossible not to be affected by the ability of creators to balance themselves on the edge of abysses. On how democracies die and, on the other hand, how pro-dictatorship discourses are born, including those that have passed and did not lie down. The obsession with erasing history, under revisionist pretexts and at the cost of a lot of disinformation. What does the discovery of phrases by workers who worked on the construction of Brasília between the 1950s and 1960s say about devising a fairer common future? How to live together, despite the different thinking of the half-wall neighbor or the mutual distrust on the border? What Indigenous and riverine leaders, environmental defenders, historians, and anthropologists know, learn, and share about climate change, the health and humanitarian crises seen from the perspective of deforestation, fires, mining, and illegal hunting in the biome with the most incredible biodiversity in the world, the Amazon?  

What does desire move and remove?  

There are folds for the pregnancy of nudity de-territorialized by the intimate, the infinite universe of the body. The activism of inclusive artistic projects through people living with Down syndrome, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s. The need to reoccupy the increasingly excluding public space. Visibility towards the peripheral people and, in particular, Black feminism saluting Afro-Brazilian ancestry from Candomblé and Umbanda. The appropriation of classical dramaturgy by active Black male and female protagonists. The well-thought-out junction of music and dance scores that give a complementary third margin. The taboo of death de-constructed as a sign of life and accessible to people of all ages.  

And everything, on and off the stage, revitalized by the hug and the touch – the absence of which the pandemic also proved to be severe and acute. What we have for the feast of the senses is a range of sensibilities, amazement, and sensoriality that make this MIRADA corpus an open work. Please enter without knocking.

O fio mais elementar na atual programação vem do calendário. Pois calhou de Portugal, país que seria homenageado dois anos atrás, figurar na boca de cena do MIRADA no mesmo setembro do bicentenário da Independência do Brasil.  

A conjunção involuntária dá margem para a indagação que a escritora e tradutora Marilene Felinto endereçou à Bienal Internacional do Livro de São Paulo, em julho deste ano: “(…) é preciso fazer a pergunta que não quer calar — a justa homenagem, para a ocasião, não seria à literatura de países africanos de expressão portuguesa? Por que homenagear o colonizador e não a narrativa literária dos povos sacrificados pela colonização?”2, lançou, em artigo no jornal Folha de S.Paulo. 

Afinal, continua Felinto, “os tempos são de intensificação do pensamento pós-colonial, de consolidação de teorias cujas palavras-chaves são decolonização, justiça social, reparação, direitos humanos e civis, incluídos aqui, ainda hoje, o direito dos povos indígenas e negros usurpados e massacrados nos genocídios produzidos pela colonização europeia branca”. 

Sob esse prisma, a jornada cênica que acontece em Santos elenca obras lusas, brasileiras e de outros países da América Latina, do Caribe e da Espanha nos quais a maioria de seus criadores se defrontou com práticas imperialistas e difusoras do patriarcado e de crueldades estruturantes nas mais diversas sociedades.  

Profundo conhecedor do sentimento de ódio subjacente às dominações por classe, raça, gênero e sexualidade, nas casas-grandes de ontem e de hoje, o médico e psicanalista Jurandir Freire Costa esclarece: “Crueldade é o ato ou desejo de fazer sofrer física e moralmente a si ou ao outro. Fazer mal ao outro, humilhando-o ou agredindo sua integridade corpórea, é uma conduta indesejável ou hedionda, conforme o grau da ofensa, mas que pode ser facilmente aceita. Basta desumanizar o próximo. Basta acreditar que ele não é um sujeito moral como ‘nós’ para que a crueldade cometida não seja percebida em seu horror. Ao longo da história, o racismo, o preconceito sexual, a intolerância étnico-religiosa, a indiferença dos opulentos face aos miseráveis etc. mostram com que facilidade podemos desumanizar o ‘diferente’, o ‘inferior’, sem perder uma só noite de sono”3. 

Colonialidade do poder 

Alguns trabalhos do festival ecoam mais diretamente aspectos da colonialidade do poder, conceito cunhado pelo sociólogo peruano Aníbal Quijano (1928-2018) para lembrar que as formas de exploração e racialização de povos não brancos, pelas metrópoles europeias, não desapareceram com a independência de nações latino-americanas. 

Polifonia crítica exercita por obras como “Cosmos”, na qual as atrizes, performers e diretoras Cleo Diára, Isabél Zuaa e Nádia Yracema, de ascendências cabo-verdiana, portuguesa e angolana, respectivamente, revisitam a mitologia africana para ficcionalizar o nascimento de um novo mundo afeito ao afrofuturismo e atento ao legado de antepassados e à ciência. 

“Brasa”, do artista performativo e visual Tiago Cadete, foca em grupos migratórios que escolheram Portugal ou Brasil para estudar, trabalhar ou simplesmente deixaram o respectivo país por razões políticas. 

Em chave transversal, “Estreito/Estrecho”, fruto da parceria do Teatro Experimental do Porto (TEP) com o Teatro La María, do Chile, cutuca com vara curta a historiografia oficial em torno do navegador português Fernão de Magalhães (1480-1521). Há 502 anos, ele liderou uma expedição espanhola que “descobriu” uma passagem natural no extremo sul da América do Sul, entre os oceanos Atlântico e Pacífico, depois batizada com seu nome, Estreito de Magalhães. 

Já em “Língua Brasileira”, o Coletivo Ultralíricos, de São Paulo, promove um encontro entre o cantor e compositor Tom Zé e o diretor Felipe Hirsch. A proposta é dar a ver e ouvir a epopeia dos povos que formaram o português falado no país, seus mitos e cosmogonias.  

Todavia, a ausência de atuantes indígenas no elenco de seis pessoas foi notada na temporada de estreia na capital, no início do ano. Percepção lacunar amplificada no panorama do festival que tampouco ancora artes do corpo concebidas diretamente por artistas pertencentes a povos originários do Brasil em rituais plenos de teatralidades, danças e ações performativas de per si. 

Coube a uma longeva trupe peruana representar a dimensão autóctone. O Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani proporciona, em “Discurso de Promoción”, uma reflexão a contrapelo das heranças vinculadas a estruturas sociais coloniais. O espetáculo reafirma as tradições dos povos quéchua e aimará ao dissecar a pintura “Proclamación de la Independencia de Perú” (1904), quadro de Juan Lepiani (1864-1932) que idealiza o ato do general argentino José de San Martín (1778-1850) ao emancipar o país da coroa espanhola, em 1821. No primeiro plano da imagem, numa varanda, constam apenas figuras masculinas e brancas da nobreza política e religiosa. Em segundo, abaixo, está o presumido povo, cujos rostos destoam do perfil étnico da população de significativa proporcionalidade andina. 

Como se sabe, aspectos fundacionais de nação incidem diretamente sobre a vida contemporânea de cidadãs e cidadãos. Artista interdisciplinar, escritora e teórica nascida em Lisboa, com raízes em Angola e São Tomé e Príncipe, Grada Kilomba afirma que “uma sociedade que vive na negação, ou até mesmo na glorificação da história colonial, não permite que novas linguagens sejam criadas. Nem permite que seja a responsabilidade, e não a moral, a criar novas configurações de poder e de conhecimento. Só quando se reconfiguram as estruturas de poder é que as muitas identidades marginalizadas podem também, finalmente, reconfigurar a noção de conhecimento. Quem sabe? Quem pode saber? Saber o quê? E o saber de quem?”4, pondera. 

Qualquer ser com um mínimo de informação sabe e sente o quanto a humanidade perdeu o prumo em muitos planos. Estão aí a fome, a concentração de renda, as doenças, as guerras, enfim, mazelas moralmente condenáveis e lucrativas para suas respectivas multinacionais.  

É conhecida a autopercepção do dramaturgo santista Plínio Marcos (1935-1999), que se considerava “um repórter de um tempo mau”. A ponto de intitular uma de suas peças como “Reportagem de um Tempo Mau”, colagem de textos levada ao palco do Teatro de Arena de São Paulo em 1964. Em meados dos anos 1990, ele se queixava de que as misérias humanas seguiam lhe servindo como matéria-prima. “Sempre fui um repórter dos tempos que vivemos”5, declarou o escritor, mais guiado pela realidade do que pela ficção, segundo raciocinou em entrevista ao jornal Folha de S.Paulo. 

Vertente documental 

Não sem razão, a maioria das 36 obras do festival adota procedimentos criativos do teatro documental, ou variações dele, para encenar problemas micros e macros que gritam por justiças e são reiteradamente ignorados pelos sistemas econômico (a autofagia do capitalismo?) e político (a imperfeição da democracia?). Moto-contínuo secular do qual instâncias da arte jamais arredaram pé em se contrapor brandindo poéticas de sublevação, de diminuta ou zero ilusão, porém com a sabedoria de que as transformações são entranhadas desde o sujeito para depois se tornarem multidão. 

A amplitude temática mostra-se digna da complexidade de nossa época, que no desenho da curadoria se aproxima de um mural do século XXI que periclita e urge. 

Dessa maneira, impossível não se afetar pela capacidade das criadoras e criadores de equilibrarem-se à beira de abismos. De como as democracias morrem e, por outra, de como nascem discursos pró-ditadura, inclusive as que já morreram e não deitaram. A obsessão pelo apagamento da história, sob pretextos revisionistas e a custo de muita desinformação. O que a descoberta de frases por operários que trabalharam na construção de Brasília, entre os anos 1950 e 1960, diz sobre idear um futuro comum mais justo? Como viver juntos, a despeito do pensar diverso do vizinho de parede-meia ou da desconfiança mútua na fronteira? O que lideranças indígenas, ribeirinhas, defensores ambientais, historiadores e antropólogos sabem, aprendem e compartilham sobre as mudanças climáticas, as crises sanitária e humanitária vistas sob a ótica de desmatamento, de queimadas, de garimpo e caça ilegais no bioma de maior biodiversidade do mundo, a Amazônia?  

O que o desejo move e remove?  

Há dobras para a pregnância da nudez desterritorializada pelo íntimo, o universo infinito do corpo. O ativismo de projetos artísticos inclusivos por meio de pessoas que convivem com síndrome de Down, esquizofrenia ou Alzheimer. A necessidade de reocupação do espaço público cada vez mais excludente. A visibilidade para com o povo periférico e, em particular, o feminismo negro a saudar ancestralidades afro-brasileiras provindas do candomblé e da umbanda. A apropriação da dramaturgia clássica por atuantes protagonistas negros e negras. A bem-bolada junção de partituras da música e da dança que dão numa terceira margem complementar. O tabu da morte desconstruído como signo da vida e acessível às pessoas de todas as idades.  

E tudo, dentro e fora de cena, revitalizado pelo abraço e pelo toque – cuja falta a pandemia também revelou ser aguda e grave. O que se tem para a festa dos sentidos é uma gama de sensibilidades, espantos e sensorialidades que fazem desse corpus MIRADA uma obra aberta. Pede-se entrar sem bater. 

Journey to the Other

Four years have passed since the last edition of MIRADA, postponed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, which restricted the movement and people’s concentration worldwide, challenging the performing arts to remain active and find other ways and means of expression and placement. 

This singular interval, with such consequences in the theatrical forms decanted from processes of reinvention and survival, rediscoveries, and resilience, made artists, companies, and theater directors move to a new place of creation. Films and digital experiences on different platforms were created, and live scenes were transmitted via the Internet to those who could safeguard themselves at home. This ensured a temporal co-presence of artists and audience, a fundamental part of the theatrical experience. 

With all the difficulties that added to those already faced before the pandemic in Brazil, when public notices and programs to promote and encourage the production of the performing arts decreased, the theater remained alive and relevant. The art of theater always finds ways to exist as daughters of gods who die and are reborn. 

What the festival presents now is marked by the difficult times we live in and, without a doubt, has been amplified and gained new colors and voices. The interruption of 2020, more than a break, was a stopping point to envision new necessary paths. 

Social and economic inequalities, the legacy and implications of the colonial and slavery past, and the relationships of otherness that cross personal and family histories, with the pandemic, gained a magnifying glass between the stages and the audiences. Plays and dramaturgy that touched on nerves in the national reality and many countries were staged or re-enacted and often seemed premonitory. 

Festivals worldwide prevented from causing their primary purpose – large concentrations of people – reinvented strategies to keep the curatorial work up to date. Online meetings of the diverse Ibero-American performing arts network were a respite from months of restricted socializing. With Mirada, it was no different. 

In November 2021, Ocupação Mirada took place, most of its actions in digital formats. The festival’s curatorial thinking, which has been collective and constant since 2010, could be presented in works and processes that reaffirm the need to keep an eye on the differences, similarities, and possible intersections of desires, hopes, and contingencies in Ibero-American countries. Some meetings provided in that program have borne fruit that will be harvested in the current edition of the festival, and groups that presented their works, processes, or participated in training activities in the digital environment will now be in front of the audience, in entire presence. In addition, the first volume of the Notebooks of Reflections on the Performing Arts in the Ibero-American Network was produced, in a trilingual edition, bringing together comprehensive texts in its contents written by artists and cultural managers. 

The continuity of the curatorial work with research and achievements like these was fundamental to reaching Mirada 2022. From a new look at the works previously listed, it was possible to perceive different meanings acquired in recent years. The presence of Portugal as an honored country in the year of the Bicentennial of the Independence of Brazil makes the questions concerning the colonial relationship, its overcoming or maintenance, even more significant, making it unavoidable to seek more diligently a critical bias in the selected works. 

Starting from the idea of “Ibero-America,” bringing together countries that were once colonized and colonizers, instead of reaffirming relations of domination and expropriation, the curatorship seeks to present cultural expressions of this transcontinental region beyond the result of the colonization process that defined an Iberian America. 

The festival presents works in which other countries look at Brazil and discuss it, works in which Latin American countries face their old colonizers, and the latter face history in the light of non-hegemonic perspectives. 

Questions such as the constitution of alterities in the encounter of peoples and individuals, work relations inserted in the capitalist logic of production, possibilities, and limits of the performing arts in their performance in social transformations, and fictional production itself are on the scene and multiplied in training actions, based on personal stories or social contexts in peripheral realities. 

There are countless themes, present in the arts as in life, crossed by the need for enchantment and the construction of what is invisible or impossible while the logic of colonization is reproduced. Thus, it is essential for Mirada to bring dramaturgy, points of view, and historical re-tellings to the audience, starring bodies whose existences were systematically erased or subordinated and still are, in the present, in other forms of oppression. 

The Theater, with its unique characteristic of uniting the past – everything that is prepared for the realization of the scene – with the present – what is actually presented to the audience – can open a vortex for the future. Memory, document, fiction, and reality merge in the face of the greater and permanent importance of an auspicious meeting between people.  

It is this encounter – in a time that mixes past, present, and future and that more powerfully generates transformations, whether individual or collective – that Mirada intends to carry out in search of a plan, or perhaps a glimpse, for crossing an era of abuse that humanity imposes on itself and the planet. 

The trip is about to begin, secure your round-trip tickets to the other – these are – the truly award-winning ones. 

Fields of conflict – Decoloniality at the heart of education

By Giovana Soar, Ivam Cabral and Jhonny Salaberg

Information democratization is one of the benefits arising from a complex sum involving technological development over the last 50 years, the intensification of activism for social justice, and the search for genuine scientific knowledge. If, until the last century, racist theories still found support in false anthropological or biological conjunctures, contemporary reason already has multiple tools to demystify such misconceptions.  

It is evident that the increase in the information dissemination, caused mainly by the internet, does not necessarily result in constituted knowledge, and inauthentic news or anachronistic and bizarre theses continue to circulate through digital networks or malicious mouths. Still, today we have, at least, access and the devices to reject them. Mythologies such as Brazil discovered or hoaxes such as ethnic inferiority can easily be de-constructed by historiography and biology.  

In this sense, the paradigm shifts caused by post-colonial and decolonial studies were essential, successfully dismantling the Eurocentric evolutionary narrative. This set of theories that analyzes the political, philosophical, and artistic effects left by colonialism and the changes in perspective concerning formerly subordinated peoples is a phenomenon that has gained strength from the 1980s but was still very restricted to academic circles as the construction of new epistemologies was still separated from social movements. If today, however, this knowledge is more popular, there is still much to be done so that its reverberation really reaches all citizens. 

Thus, bringing Portugal as the honored country in 2022 at MIRADA – Ibero-American Festival of Performing Arts does not mean reinforcing subservience, but quite the opposite, because it represents an opportunity for critical dialog about our origins, so that more people, here and there, actually know them. We want to create constructive fields of conflict between this tribute and our history. The formative curatorship of the festival brings as a challenge this attempt to decolonize our thoughts. 

The historical moment is more than promising. Feminisms, Black movements, LGBTQIAP+ agendas, and the struggles for civil rights of native peoples are in evidence. What in specific periods corresponded to limited engagements today echoes through our language, clothes, and the posture of a considerable portion of the youth. However, the strong waves of reactionaryism, whether in the Americas or Europe, based on lies or on the recovery of scientific misunderstandings that have already been overcome, try to contain civilizational advances. Hence, we need to stand firm in defense of democracy, cultural polyphony as an indispensable condition for our peoples’ ethical, cognitive, and economic prosperity, and the legitimacy of previously silenced voices. 

Brazilians and Portuguese have maintained a relationship of love and hate, admiration and disdain, desire, and repulsion for centuries. These are paradoxical feelings that often stem from silly prejudices. We see this immense desire for affection, but we are still full of resentment.   

We need to understand the world beyond Europe. Why are we called America? Why are we Latin Americans? Where does this name come from, why did we adopt it, and why do we still use it? Let us remember that, in 1988, the anthropologist Lélia Gonzalez already problematized the tribute – to the intruder Américo Vespucci – who coined the name of our continent when proposing the semantic and sociocultural category of Amefricanity.  

Given this, how can we reinhabit our world? How can we decolonize our language, our Portuguese language? How to decolonize our concepts of beauty and knowledge? Who tells the stories? Do the stories told here, in this Mirada’s edition, represent us? What narratives are these?  

It is not about resentful revisionism, nor is it promoting reverse persecution. We intend to discover other protagonists for these plots – because they are many – and put these themes into dialog with the public.  

Currently, thanks to the most diverse activism for social equity, the use of an inclusive language, and individual freedoms, topics that were previously taboo or limited to the erudite universe are now debated in schoolyards, on stages throughout Brazil, and in everyday chat. All people are capable of learning and teaching something. The Portuguese people have a lot to learn from Brazilians and vice versa.  

With intellectual maturity, we have the chance, through events like this, to systematize new knowledge and strengthen all our cultures and traditions that are worthy of being preserved according to our own interest. The negative stories of colonization, slavery, and genocide must remain, for pedagogical purposes, at first sight on our bookshelves: as fait accompli, accessible information for us to understand our origin. Our practice, however, must look to the future for the collective construction of new utopias.