Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A trip to the mountains, part 2; large Brazillian cities


View from a valley, oil on card, 14 x 9.6 cm

A community in a mountain valley, oil on card, 9.4 x 6.6 cm

Two more paintings from one of the valleys near  Morro de Campestre. The little houses, which are often wooden and tiled, huddle at the base of  splendid mountains.

Large Brazillian cities are extremely ugly, unless they have the fortune to be sited as impressively as Rio. (Florianopolis is not beautiful -though you might hear people say it is- what is attractive about it is the closeness and variety of its natural surroundings).

The Brazillian inability, or refusal, to plan, their lack of understanding of public space and their instinct to merely improvise, or sort something out at the last minute means that anything which needs large scale co-ordination often goes terribly wrong, so that all large Brazillian cites are largely squalid, ugly monstrosities, crime infested, grafitti covered, filthy rat-holes, containing significant areas of extreme poverty and social degradation (usually, for visitiors and the rich there are showcase tourist streets and enclaves for those with private wealth to escape to - shopping malls, restaurants, posh condominiums, fancy gyms etc).

These cultural failings do not affect so negatively smaller places, and I believe there is a cultural element at play too in the Urubici area, which is that the cultures which lent the mountians their native populations are generally central European. They came there with the specific intent of creating a worthwhile life for themselves through their own labours. They do not have the negative attitudes towards work commonly seen in latin or slave populations.

Having had a British education, I aquired this sneaking admiration for people who don't want to work, but the truth is that people who are not industrious are rarely creative either, and all this means that Brazil is less interesting in terms of culture than it might be: certainly, there is not much happening here in Florianopolis.


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