Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro

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My family and I dressed all in white and welcomed in the New Year of 2016 on the Copacabana Beach together with thousands of Rio citizens. We watched a fireworks display like no other I have ever seen, so spectacular and relentless, the overwhelming visual pleasure of it recalibrated for me the word awe. There was much to admire in Rio–the range, number, and quality of their neighborhoods, museums, bookstores (they even sell books in vending machines in the subway),

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and restaurants was beyond impressive; and much to regret–the pollution, the crime, the political morass–shared by too many global cities. But the best part of our short stay in Rio was getting to know just a little bit the neighborhood where we were staying. We had made a house exchange with friends of friends who had a place at the lower edge of Vidigal, a favela located at the base of Morro Dois Irmãos, or Two Brothers Hill, in the South Zone of Rio near Leblon overlooking Ipanema Beach. The favela had been through rough times in 2011 and the “Pacifying Police” still maintain a robust presence, but the much stronger presence was the spirit of art, the power of visual culture to unify, challenge, heal, protest, and celebrate  community. I wish for the residents of Vidigal and for all of Rio’s citizens a happy Olympics.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro

  1. Beautiful post!! Vibrant people!

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  2. Pingback: Rio de Janeiro Blues

  3. Marc

    Your article makes me want to get on a plane to Brazil.

  4. Dazzling photos–took me far from my narrow office…

  5. Linda Healey

    A world of wonders you depict with such compelling photos!
    I’m giving friends the link to your extraordinary work.

  6. Thanks Linda! It’s an extraordinary place.

  7. Gorgeous photos, every one. There’s something hopeful about them and, like others have said, they make you want to jump on the next plane!

    Also, I love – LOVE! – the idea of books in a vending machine.

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