By Yula Rocha

Rio de Janeiro, 17th January 2023 – They came drumming and dancing in the middle of the streets from the nearby favela Dona Marta. Wearing colourful clothes and scary masks, the clowns made children grab hold of their parents and hide behind their legs. The Folia de Reis Penitentes Santa Marta is a Catholic tradition in Brazil. They were invited to perform at the reopening of Casa Rio, after two years of closed doors, due to the pandemic.

The 20th century colonial house belongs to the State of Rio/FUNARJ and is run by PPP’s sister organisation – PPP do Brasil. Casa Rio is an international home for artists and academics for the exchange of creative practices.

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The traditional group performed at Casa Rio’s inauguration in 2015 and were invited to take part in the official ceremony to celebrate the renewal of an extended five-year programme.

“Artists from 25 countries have stayed with us in Casa Rio, from the Xingu Indigenous territory to Chile, Germany and the UK, but there is nothing like having you back to give your blessing to this house, ” says Paul Heritage, director of People’s Palace Projects, holding the flag of the three kings.

Guests including designer Gringo Cardia , Cecila Boal, widow of the Theatre of the Oppressed’s founder Augusto Boal, attended the opening and Indigenous filmmaker Graci Guarani.

The main space in the house held an exhibition by photographer Rat?o Diniz, who has been documenting the work of Folia de Rei Penitentes’ group for years.

Casa Rio will soon release its year-long programme and open the application process for artistic residency.  All details will be made public on social media channels and on Casa Rio’s dedicated page on this website.

Photos by: Ratao Diniz