Coffee from Helvécia
One of 19th century’s largest coffee plantations, located in northeastern Brazil, was squarely in Swiss hands. Today’s Helvécia bears almost no traces of those forms of life and community. Watercolor paintings from Pinacoteca and artefacts from the Museu Afro Brasil in São Paulo shed light on a key chapter in the history of Swiss colonialism and global interconnections.
More than a hundred years later, another coffee plantation would become the setting for a social experiment: In the late 1930s, Brazilian architect and writer Flávio de Carvalho (1899-1973) founded an independent republic for “naked people” (i.e. those who reject categorization by social or ethnic affiliation, nationality, gender, etc.) at Fazenda Capuava.
The exhibition focuses on forms of community that emerge from migrant destinies, slavery, demand for goods, working conditions and utopian fantasies. Exhibits including Brazilian archival documents, watercolor paintings from Pinacoteca and artefacts from the Museu Afro Brasil in São Paulo, and a contemporary video- and textile piece by artist Denise Bertschi shed light on a key chapter in the history of Swiss colonialism and global interconnections.
Concept: Marcelo Rezende (Director of the Archive of the Avant-Gardes in Dresden)
with Eduardo Simantob