Evictions Museum

Afro-Brazilian Legacy And The Struggle For the Right To The City

Museum in Rio de Janeiro brings together information on topic of forced evictions, creating an important space in the city for memory and contemporary Afro-Brazilian art.

Another site stands out on the new tour: the “Ruins of the Home of Senhor Adão”. A resident of Vila Autódromo, Adão Almeida Oliveira was a pai de santo, or candomblé priest, and died just months after leaving the community. This memory site alludes not only to the pioneering spirit of Senhor Adão, one of the community’s first residents, but also to his terreiro (part of the Kanjerê Nation variation), as well as a tribute to former residents who, like him, died some time after the evictions. According to Mavilim Oliveira, Senhor Adão’s son and a former resident of Vila Autódromo, his father’s religion was a family tradition and came from his great-grandparents, Africans enslaved in Brazil.

Afro-Brazilian Legacy

Sandra Maria, a local resident and co-founder of the Evictions Museum, points out that the entire community’s origins are, in fact, connected to an Afro-Brazilian legacy: “Favelas are part of the Afro-Brazilian legacy. After abolition, [newly freed slaves] occupied the abandoned areas of the city and part of downtown as well. Then, when those tenements were torn down, the population went up into the hills. The favela began there, so the entire area of Vila Autódromo is part of this Afro-Brazilian legacy, as are all the favelas in Brazil.”

Many of the signs on the new Evictions Museum tour say “fought and remained”. The museum has assembled documents, reports, theses and dissertations on Vila Autódromo on its website and continues, through contact with other communities that have also been or are going through the forced eviction process, to fight for the right to the city. Its development, dynamics and the pieces on display make it an important space for memory and contemporary Afro-Brazilian art in Rio de Janeiro.

Miriane Peregrino is a researcher, journalist, and cultural producer. In 2013 she started “Literatura Comunica!”, in which she develops projects to encourage reading and the visual arts in popular spaces. She has a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and studied abroad at Agostinho Neto University, in Angola. Currently, she is conducting research at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

Translated from Portuguese by Zoë Perry