|An interactive installation where people could walk around in a pair of Havaianas flip flops glued to a bag of sand.|
With the London Olympics in full swing, I had the privilege of looking ahead four years to the Games in Rio, by meeting the city's Culture Secretary Adriana Rattes yesterday at the Rio Occupation London exhibition in Bermondsey. Some of the cultural projects for Rio are truly inspiring and, as Adriana listed them all to me, I felt proud to be Brazilian. A key focus for Adriana is to improve Rio's cultural and educational facilities. Only last weekend, I was reading about the closure of a bookshop in Willesden, in north London, beloved by its community. In nearby Kensal Rise, residents have been campaigning to prevent the closure of their beautiful library. Yet in Rio, we'll see a new state of the art public "library" (the level of technology and interactive spaces means that calling it a library doesn't really do the building justice) open in time for the Olympics, while plans to open libraries in favelas are also under way. Museums, too, will play a central role in developing Rio's cultural attractions, with several due to open in the next few years. Rio may be gearing itself up for the Olympics in 2016, but these projects show genuine thought for its residents, rather than just tourists, and the city's legacy.
Not that Brazil doesn't want to shout about its exports. For those of you who follow this blog regularly, you'll have seen how much reporting I've done on the presence of Brazilian culture here in the UK. The last month has been no exception with Rio Occupation London, an arts project spearheaded by Adriana, where 30 Brazilian artists spent 30 days in London holding performances and exhibitions. A special three-day finale to celebrate the success of the last month began last night on Wednesday and finishes this Friday at the Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey.
Tickets are free and you'll be treated to music, live performances, art installations and delicious food. I went last night and would urge you to go, too.