First Thoughts

Wow, what an amazing experience!
Immersed in culture from day one, we experienced art and design, architecture, craft both past and present, fashion, ecology alongside contemporary fine art, food and music.  We saw extremes of poverty alongside opulence. We met delightful, friendly Brazilian people who gave us all a very warm welcome.
Relentless concrete greeted us in Sao Paulo, dominated by skyscrapers with very few green spaces; our hotel was a 17 storey building in the pleasant area of Jardins offering us a safe neighbourhood as a base to visit numerous museums, galleries and artisan studios. Oscar Niemeyer’s unique gems afforded us the opportunity to see and experience Brazilian architecture at its best (and in particular concrete!) by visiting many beautiful buildings that he had designed.
Side by side sat the poverty of the slum areas (or favelas as they are known) with the chic wealthy areas who protected their properties with bars and grills.  Many organisations are making a real difference bringing education and with it self esteem and hope to the urban poor through working alongside them to bring them sustained development within their communities and above all a better quality of life.
Contemporary craft practice was scarce but contemporary fine art was self evident in the galleries we visited, particularly the beautiful tropical gardens of Inhotim in Minas Gerais, designed by the landscape gardener Robert Burle Marx. Various pavilions were located in stunning settings beside lakes and trees housing imaginative contemporary fine art exhibitions.

Rio Favelas by Christine Lawry
View of the Rochina's favela in Rio de Janeiro