Rivers of Meeting
Our project Rivers of Meeting is located in the afro-descendent, riverside community of Cabelo Seco, on the point of land between the Tocantins and Itacaiúnas Rivers, the founding community of the Amazonian city of Marabá (which suffers the third highest index of violence in the country), excluded and violated over a century of exploitation, transforming its dormant rich cultural roots through artistic formation, cultural creation and transcultural production. The proposal integrates four generations of the community, political advisers, public servants and professionals in the areas of education, health, culture and security.
Formed by a nucleus of young artists who coordinate artistic-cultural micro-projects in the community Cabelo Seco and supported by a nucleus of their mothers in the Cottage of Culture, the Project currently acts on seven fronts: the musical group Backyard Drums; the dance company AfroMundi: Feet on the Ground, the Social Journalism project Not a Jot; the audio-visual collective Rabeta Videos; Owl Cinema; Leaves of Life: family libraries. Together, slowly, we have integrated the windows, doors, narrow streets and the plaza of Cabelo Seco in a community stage of transformation that extends to the Culture Lab to embrace schools and neighboring popular vicinities, the media, universities, the airport, malls and even the City Hall in courageous debate about the preservation of young lives and the Amazon, in the face of the greedy exploitation by mining companies. The collective community project is composed of two development nuclei, coordinated by the Transformance Institute: Culture and Education.
The project began in the Backyards of Culture, on the boardwalk that runs along the bank of the Tocantins River, where artistic meetings took place in monthly cultural parties. River of Meeting’s five-year anniversary culminated in the Festival of Amazonian Beauty in December 2012 and in the community-international musical monument, the CD Amazonia Our Land, released in April 2013. The following September, the Project founded its Community University of the Rivers by signing an agreement with the Federal University of South and Southeast of Pará and Marabá’s Secretary of Education. We are now preparing our second Festival of Amazonian Beauty for December, that will announce our Cultural Year of Paolo Freire, 2014.
The project was propelled in the context of the Accelerated Growth Program (PAC), by two national awards from Aesthetic Interactions with Points of Culture from the Funarte Ministry of Culture (in 2008 and 2010) to develop a process that cares for and celebrates the cultural afro-descendent roots of the neighborhood. The project won a regional and national award from Itau-UNICEFF in 2011, ‘Integral Education: Experiences that Transform’, related to two innovative dimensions: to sustain a process of cultural rescue through the artistic formation of young people in risk by the community master Zequinha Sousa in the streets, the Backyards of Culture, and Cabelo Seco’s plaza; and to nurture them into democratic and creative community leaders, capable of transforming a violated neighborhood into a source of living community culture, supported by their mothers.
In 2012, the coordinator of the AfroMundi Dance Company received a national Young Agent of Culture (MinC) award and in 2013, the Musical Director received the national Master of Popular Culture (MinC) award. In 2014, Leaves of Life and Rabetas Videos Collective won national awards, and national awards were given to the new transversal projects Gira-Sol: cultivating energies of life, Clothes into the Wind: transforming violence against women, adolescents and girls, and to (the Pan-Amazonian project) Radio Stingray.
Carefully, we are bringing a new culture to the families and neighboring schools to re-root them in the artistic production of a new popular culture with values and ethics of cooperation, generosity, solidarity and the courage to create within a circle.