The free forms of this monument, ten
metres in height, designed by the renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer (1) in
tribute to the victims of violence in rural Paraná, speak for him and for
one of the main themes of his art, the search for an aesthetic utopia for the
solution of social problems (2).
The monument (3) is situated close to the capital of the state of
Paraná, at kilometer 108 on highway BR277. The state of Paraná is
symptomatic, in many ways, of the land problems in Brazil, instance the eviction
of 12,000 families at the time of the building of the Binational Hydroelectric
dam of Itaipu, on the frontier with Paraguay (4). Significantly, Paraná
was the venue of The First National Assembly of the Rural Landless
Workersí Movement, from 21 to 24 January 1984, when the MST was
formally established as a national movement.
Sited at the exact spot where the peasant leader Antônio Tavares
Pereira was killed, the monument marks yet one more violent episode in rural
Brazil but it does not resound with the cries of those that lie beneath it nor
with the laments of the Widows of the Land who, on 2 May 2001, officiated at its
inauguration. Niemeyer’s art in the Monument surpasses the limits of
realism. Its lines point to a new world, without frontiers, where, it is hoped,
through political action and through work, social changes will be brought about
and better conditions for living will be achieved.
The poet and executive secretary of the Pastoral Land Commission of
Paraná, Gerson de Oliveria, writes of the Monument as follows:
"(...) the raised arm of the peasant, worked in white concrete, seems to
push the monument upwards, towards liberty, with the revolutionary force
borne by these men and women. The peasant is the monument itself. One thing
only. The scythe - outlawed, work-tool and symbol of struggle - is
definitively in the hand of the worker. [Niemeyer] handed to the man the
dignity of his work. So it is that, on the curve of history, the landless
and the architect are conjoined for eternity (5)."
1 Editor's note: Brazilian architect who has been awarded several
prizes nationally and internationally for the architectural complex of Pampulha
in Belo Horizonte and particularly for the design of Brasília’s
cathedral and government buildings. His projects outside Brazil include France,
the GDR, Algeria, Israel and Venezuela. Together with Le Corbusier and seven
other architects, he planned the building of the United Nations in New York.
2 Editor’s note: Theme highlighted by D. K. Underwood
(Oscar Niemeyer and Brazilian Free-Form Modernism. George Braziller
Publishers, 1994), amongst others.
3 Editor's Note: Monument Antônio Tavares Pereira, designed by
Oscar Niemeyer. Photo by Douglas Mansur. Reproduction authorized by MST,
4 Editor’s note: Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano &
Stedile, João Pedro. Brava gente: a trajetória do MST e a luta
pela terra no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Fundação
Perseu Abramo, 1999. p. 44.
5 Editor’s note: "Monumento homenageia vítimas da
violência no campo". InforAndes, maio de 2001, no. 105, p.