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Jaguar Magazine #08

  • Text
  • Salvador
  • Materials
  • Morris
  • Cultural
  • Ahmed
  • Mestre
  • Arts
  • Galway
  • Capoeira
  • Jaguar
In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.

Travel Fighting spirit

Travel Fighting spirit Half dance, half martial art, capoeira embodies the essence of Brazil. We travel from Salvador to União dos Palmares in a Jaguar XE to explore its roots Story Jenni Doggett Photography Wilson Hennessy It’s hard to hit a moving target. Which may explain why one of the key manoeuvres in capoeira is the ginga, a distinctive swaying refrain that keeps the players in perpetual motion, fluid and poised for action. The same can be said of capoeira itself: the Brazilian sport-fight-art-game is difficult to pin down. The exact origins of capoeira are disputed, but the most common account is that African slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century developed a clandestine martial art to defend and liberate themselves. It has evolved today into a practice that escapes simple definition. We’ve come to Brazil to trace its roots and try to understand what it has become. The state of Bahia in Brazil’s north east is widely considered to be the birthplace of capoeira. Salvador is both Bahia’s capital city and the country’s cultural capital, according to my guide Luis. “We say that people from Salvador aren’t born, they make a debut,” he laughs. Luis is from São Paulo and works all over South America but he comes back here as often as he can: “They say that we Paulistas only work to make money so we can come and visit Salvador.” We’re in Largo Terreiro de Jesus square, watching pairs of street capoeiristas flip and whirl with alarming speed. The precision cartwheels and stingray tail-kicks miss the fighters’ faces by millimetres. The lithe young athletes pose standing on their hands, grinning broadly for the tourists. But when I ask Jason, one of the youngest in the group, what capoeira means to him he earnestly credits it with saving his life: “Many of my friends are now dead or in trouble with the law. Capoeira has taken me to a different place. I owe it everything I have.” The showier side of capoeira provides a vital outlet and source of income for Jason and his friends. He hopes that capoeira will become an Olympic sport so that more opportunities open up. Much like boxing or football, capoeira is a way out for kids who’ve been deprived of education and support. These street capoeiristas train as hard as any professional athletes, except they do it on concrete, in searing heat, for whatever tourists will pay. It is late afternoon as we leave the plaza in our Jaguar XE. The sun is eclipsed by white clouds so thick they look like you could bite them. Salvador is staggeringly beautiful, its steep cobbled streets lined with sun-battered pastels. The XE’s exterior mirrors the vivid jumble of houses. We ease past crumbling colonial buildings in blue and white tile, their doors wearing faded layers of graphic posters and wildly inventive graffiti. The Olympics come up again when I meet Pedro Abib. An academic, musician, film-maker and 22 / Jaguar Magazine Jaguar Magazine / 23

 

JAGUAR MAGAZINE

 

Jaguar Magazine celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from beautiful design to cutting-edge technology.

In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.

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