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André Kajaman is a Rio de Janeiro artist and muralist who is considered one of the main names in the city’s urban art scene. He is also the creator of MOF – Meeting of Favela. “I have been doing graffiti for 21 years. I usually say that I am a citizen of the world. With this art I conquer lands, travel spaces, add territories and add many stories of struggle and life to my journey.”
For him, the afro-ancestralism represented by his art is implicit in the use of colors, graphics, and textures, provided an important representation of black people as the protagonists – something that his generation never had. “These are things that in my childhood I noticed in films, which were few. Blacks were there as janitors and doormen. We never had a prominent place.”
The project was aided and curated by Lucas Ademar, who was born and raised in the Santo Amaro community, where the mural is located. He is known for creating Ademáfia, a collective that believes in the social transformation provided by skateboarding. As a local representative, he chose the two community members honored in the artwork.
The art portrays two main characters: Baiano, one of the first residents of the community who passed away a few years ago, but whose memory remains alive today and is always remembered as a symbol of work and survival. Also represented is Ms. Martha, president of the residents' association for two terms. She maintains highly respected work providing many improvements for the community with the help of her team, and is an inspiration for all women in the community.
The mural’s theme is "Amor Afrocentrado" and André displays children representing the generations that arose from the honorees who, even though they were not related, made their families within the community.
“Working on this topic is very important for me because we give back and bring light to things that I did not understand in the past. Children grew up seeing these people – Baiano carrying a refrigerator on his back, Dona Martha managing an entire community and facing public power,” says Kajaman. “Here are our heroes. If we don't give prominence and protagonism to these two people, nobody will,” says the artist.
The mural received a projection that gave the artwork even more life. Created by the artist and VJ from Rio de Janeiro Carol Santana, the surrounding houses became animated with a mapped projection that was aligned with the concept of the artwork, conveying love, community, breaking barriers, deconstructing patterns, and celebrating roots.
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