This past Sunday was a very important day in Atibaia. It was an artistic and social occupation of Caetetuba, one of the poorest neighborhoods in this city if 125,000. Just beside the waste recycling facility, by the former landfill area, a derelict shed that had been overridden by homeless and drug users started to become the “Estação do Samba” (Samba Station), a project promoted by the School of Samba “Imperial de Caetetuba”. And this transformation started by wall papering the façade.
Many residents and visitors of Atibaia, a mountainside town in the outskirts of São Paulo metropolis, are unaware of the huge part of the city that is situated across the Fernão Dias highway. Among others, Caetetuba and Jardim Imperial, are very populous and poor neighborhoods, not only in terms of infrastructure but also because of the lack of cultural activities and opportunities. The surroundings of the “Estação do Samba” have only recently received drainage and paving.
The project, a partnership of a local artist and the School of Samba Imperial de Atibaia, is part of the OcupaAtibaia initiative, promoted by the Incubadora de Artistas organization.
Jaime Scatena is an artist and photographer (and engineer and journalist …) who spent 2013 travelling through the United States, and brought back something special in his luggage: InsideOut (a global participatory art project). And literally ‘in his luggage’ since several of the posters he brought back from the US have already been pasted on the walls of his house in the Vila Gardenia neighborhood. “I had friends who sent me messages saying ‘now I know where you live!’. To which I promptly replied: ‘is it that obvious?”, Jaime tells, referring to his ‘Selfie InsideOut installation’.
Mr. Scatena says that through the InsideOut Project website – www.insideout.net, anyone, from anywhere, can use their faces to stand for what they believe. “The InsideOut team receives the digital files in their studio in NY, prepares and prints the
posters to be sent to all corners of the globe”.
InsideOut: A global art project transforming messages of personal identity into works of art.
With the statement “Botando a cara na Imperial de Atibaia” the ‘InsideOutAtibaia: Reciclagem’ project pasted photos of 42 participants of the School of Samba and local community on the walls of this shed recently granted to the School of Samba to become a cultural center.
The place will be named “Estação do Samba” and will provide for the establishment of crafts & arts courses, and workshops to prepare for the annual carnival parade. “This is our dream since we started working with samba in Atibaia, more than 5 years ago: to have a place where we could work with the community throughout the year”, says Jamil Scatena, composer, singer, samba and a founder of the school, along with his wife, carnival producer Mariá Scatena.
The shed was built along with the installation of the Recycling Facility Plant to be a ‘Rubble/construction market’, but the idea flopped. A non-governmental organization tried to run its programs on site but failed. Recently the place was abandoned and had already been plundered and invaded by homeless and drug users.
“The local community kept asking us to take over the place and convert it into something that could be used by the locals. Not only would be be able to make this into a cultural center it would also clean up the neighborhood. Once everything was formalized with the local municipality, one of the first things we did was to inaugurate the place with this artistic action. We also have music programs established and other cultural events.” Jaimil says. And adds “We are very happy and have always supported Jaime’s idea to change the face of the place using the faces of the community.”
This project seeks personal empowerment of the participants, in an action to rescue their personal identities by taking and printing their portraits in large size format. And strengthening community ties by the collaborative work during the posters’ pasting and the mural’s creation.
Photographs were taken in a studio set up in the streets, just in front of a neighborhood bar. During two afternoons 42 people showed up to take their portraits, including children, babies, grannies, samba dancers, and the samba band leader. The files were then processed and sent to NY. “Having worked with them, I sent everything all prepared, the way they require and two days later the posters were posted.” The pictures were so nice that the project put one of the pictures as their profile picture on Facebook.
“I have to admit I do not get involved in the Carnival half as much as my parents do. They give their sweat, their blood and their voice to Imperial, so I decided to help them with art and photography. I’m sure the project will make a positive impact in the community and I am very happy and proud to be part of it all, “adds Jaime. “My dream is to bring to Brazil the InsideOut truck I travelled with last year, Odette. It would be fantastic to be driving around the country with a cool photo booth like that…”.
Our project’s goal is to promote their Personal Identities through their portraits as well as Reinforce their Community bonds, since only with
everyone’s help they can bring their samba school in to the Carnival Parade.”