Nossa Senhora da Favela
Client: Mirante do Arvrão
The Project Nossa Senhora da Favela (Our Lady of the Slam) had some special requirements:
1.- To create a representation of a divine being, as a Virgin or Saint..
2.- The Virgin needs to be part of the vernacular artistic symbolism of America, as in oposition of the Old Continent, but keeping some of them.
3.- The Nossa Senhora da Favela has to represent several concepts: Africa, the indigenous people in Latin America and Brazil, Daime ( Santo Daime is a syncretic religion founded in the 1930s in the Brazilian Amazonian state of Acre), Shamanism, Umbanda & Orixas, which are part of the Spiritual African legacy in Brazil, including the Iemanjá deity, goddess of the sea.
The products offered as output of the process were:
1.- One photography of Nossa Senhora da Favela..
2.- An painting, based in the photography.
Part of the considered process was the selection of the real person who will embody the character.
Daniel Graziani, owner of Mirante do Arvrão, chose Isis Maria, founder and percusionist at the social project Batucavidi (batucavidi.com)
Trailer of the Project Nossa Senhora da Favela
The painting of Nossa Senhora da Favela intends to emulate the naive paintings of the Southamerican baroque. The European art was transformed in the hands of the painters, most of them aborigens in art centers of the XVI century as the Cuzco School, giving new symbolism related to the pagan beliefs, creating a syncretism. An example of that is the use of the triangle form in order to represent the Virgin, hiding the real metaphorical presence of the mountain, the symbol of the Pachamama.
I decided to use gold as a main color to indicate the divinity. The blue indicates the relation with Iemanjá, the godess of the water and the sea.
Nossa Senhora da Favela
Location: Praia do Diabo, a small beach between Copacabana e Ipanema.
The colorgrading was made with custom presets.
I created the costume having in consideration some American Indigenous sources as the Peruvian Mochica jewelry and some Victorian dresses, in order to mix the influences in the character.
Nossa Senhora da Favela has a sceptre with leaves, representing the Amazonia and for extension, Nature. It is tipped with a Ricinus leaf, a wild plant growing in the hills of Rio de Janeiro, and then, common in the favelas. It was a personal choice, because I have seen this plant in three countries: Chile, Brazil and Spain. It represents the dual personality of the godess Iemanjá. The Ricinus is a medicine, but it is a poison too. As Iemanjá is portrayed as protective and "...when angered she can be quite destructive and violent, as the flood waters of turbulent rivers." (Wikipedia)
The birds represent the connection with the air, the Spiritual and the Nature.
The multiple presence of arms in the character is a metaphor of the Asian cultures as influencers of the Spiritual movements. It is also a metaphor of the Favela, as a corpus of cooperation. In Brazil the favelas are also known as communities.
The crown was made with plastic soldiers painted with gold and the chain on the forehead resembles the Turkish jewelry.
Behind the Scenes
Isis Maria, the model.
Her name is a contraction of the Yoruba words Iye, meaning "mother"; ọmọ, meaning "child"; and ẹja, meaning "fish"; roughly translated the term means "mother of fish children.” This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity, and her reign over all living things.