Sunny Sunday in INHOTIMUm domingo em INHOTIM

Have you ever heard so much about a place that you think it must be overrated? You’re sure you’re going to be disappointed when you finally see it. That was my feeling about Inhotim, an open-air contemporary art museum 60 km from our home in Belo Horizonte. Last Sunday we eventually managed to go there and I have to say that Inhotim is everything I heard about and more! We loved it.
When we got there, the place was very crowded, because we chose to go on a long weekend right after the opening of new exhibitions.  Later I read that on that day, Oct 11th, they had more than 4000 visitors, a record since the opening in 2006. So we stood in line for half an hour or so but we had decided to spend the day there.
The place:
Installations, sculptures and paintings by contemporary artists from the 1960s onwards are part of the permanent collection. Some are outdoors while others are housed in 16 pavilions scattered around the park. According to the museum’s website, there are 600 hectares of Natural Reserve, 45 hectares of gardens with botanical collections and 5 lakes. Nature in its exuberance, as you can see in the pictures below.

For us Brazilians, some names stand out like that of landscape designer Burle Marx, inspiration for the amazing gardens, and modernist artists such as Helio Oiticica, Amilcar de Castro and movie-maker Neville D’Almeida. I was also surprised to see an installation by Olafur Eliasson, whose work I’d seen in the Turbine hall at Tate Modern back in 2004. And Steve was very impressed with a sound installation by Janet Cardiff with music recorded at Salisbury Cathedral.

I want that bench!

This is a place we are definitely going back, especially with our dear guests from out of state or overseas.
Centro de Arte Contemporânea de Inhotim
Opening hours:
Thursdays and Fridays: 9:30 – 4:30 pm
Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays: 9:30 – 5:30 pm
Admission for adults: R$15.00
Click here to see how to get there.

2016 – Olympics coming to Rio

Looking down on Rio de Janiero from Corcovada

Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro for winning the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games.  But is it good or bad for Brazil?  What do Brazilians think?
It’s fair to say that there are mixed opinions about hosting the Olympics.  There are those that say the Games will boost tourism, improve infrastructure, and reduce crime.  Conversely, there are those that are worried about corruption.

Itaimbezinho Canyon in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul

Can anyone imagine a more beautiful location and stunning back drop than Rio de Janeiro?  Rio is a truly gorgeous city with great beaches, mountains and warm lively hospitable people.  But Rio is just one very small part of Brazil, there are other equally amazing places throughout the country that are little known outside of Brazil.  If the Olympics bring tourists to Rio, lets hope they find time to visit some of the other incredible places in Brazil (more about these in a later post).  Brazil’s tourism potential is sadly currently under-exploited.  Brazil boasts stunning natural scenery, in addition to beautiful (and cheap) beaches to mention but two.  In fact, those in the northeast of the country that are just a few hours flight from southern Europe and the United States.  The Games can only aid in the development of this potential.
There are undoubted concerns after the Pan-American Games of 2007 that the Olympics will be beset with allegations of corruption and wasted expenditure.  I have little doubt that there will be some of this, but what major project anywhere in the world doesn’t suffer similar problems (I’m sure Londoners would concur). I hope the various governmental authorities have learnt from the Pan-American Games and find ways to minimise this.  There is a deep-set belief among Brazilians that corruption is ever-present.  I think that this is in part due to history and in part represents the current behaviour of some politicians and companies.  It won’t be easy to convince them otherwise but, with openness and changed policies, maybe this perception can be gradually changed.
Another concern is Rio being left with “White Elephants” that are little used by the citizens.  I think if Rio/Brazil can use the games to tap into the potential sporting prowess of a growing population (not just for football/soccer), then this infrastructure will be used. However, it needs to be made available to all sections of society, hence it needs to be cheap to use.
Lastly, there are concerns that the money could be better spent on healthcare, education, housing and other important social issues.  This is more difficult to answer.  There is progress being made on these fronts, albeit slowly.  The problems in Brazil’s big cities are not trivial and there is no quick easy answer, but if the funding for the Olympics improves housing and educations and does something to improve the quality of life of the favela’s (slum’s) inhabitants in Rio de Janeiro, there will be long-term benefits there and, hopefully, elsewhere.  There is no doubt that crime is a serious concern and something which will need to be resolved prior to the Olympics in order to reassure the influx of tourists.
My personal opinion is that the Games represent a huge opportunity for Brazil to be recognised for what it is:

  • A huge country with enormous economic and touristic potential
  • A country with beautiful warm open people, stunning beaches and diverse cultures

So lets hope that the Olympics are a huge success and bring financial and social rewards to Rio and Brazil as a whole.

Tate Modern: não dá para não ir

Festa abertura – Tate Modern

5 razões por que eu adoro :
1. A sala da turbina impressiona com qualquer instalação
2. A coleção permanente inclui obras dos principais pintores ocidentais do século XX
3. É grátis
4. O bar/restaurante localizado no sétimo andar oferece uma vista maravilhosa do rio Tâmisa e da Catedral St.Paul
5. O Steve participou do projeto de iluminação do prédio na festa de abertura da galeria em 2000

Dica de passeio:
No píer em frente à Tate Modern (Bankside pier), pegue este charmoso barco Tate-to-Tate – cujas bolinhas foram idealizadas pelo artista inglês Damien Hirst – e vá até a galeria Tate Britain apreciando os cartões postais de Londres a partir de uma nova perspectiva. O barco é super confortável e tem uma lanchonete.
O serviço interligando as duas galerias funciona das 10:00 às 17:00 horas, em intervalos de 40 minutos, e o trajeto é percorrido em 20 minutos. O bilhete pode ser adquirido na bilheteria da galeria ou no próprio barco por ₤5,00 (com travelcard ₤3,35).

Da Tate Modern para a Tate Britain

Tate Modern:
Bankside, Londres
Aberta de domingo à quinta-feira de 10:00 às 18:00
Sexta-feira e sábado de 10:00 às 22:00
Para ver outras dicas de Londres, visite nosso novo blogue, Londres para Principiantes.
Estação de metrô mais próxima: Southwark