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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)

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Studies, statements & references -> Statements by Intellectuals and Artists 13 resources (Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.)

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Author:

Oscar Niemeyer
(Brazilian architect. Several national and international prizes. Design of Pampulha, Brasilia and the United Nations, in New York.Translated by Bernard McGuirk.)
(co-authorship).

Title:

Monument Antonio Tavares Pereira
(Voices of a Monument (Text by Else R P Vieira) Monument, highway BR277, state of Paraná. Explanatory text, Voices of a Monument, on aesthetics and the solution of social problems, by Else R P Vieira.)

Monument
Antonio Tavares Pereira 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, São Paulo.

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. 10.

Date:

November 2002

Resource ID:

MONUMENT175

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