An Unexpected Encounter with Brazilian Ecological Art

Maria and I live in Vila Leopoldina, a very interesting neighbourhood in São Paulo which is currently undergoing some major regenerative development. The centre piece of this is the very amazing Arca, a gigantic hanger which used to be a cement factor many decades ago.

Photo: Arca

The Arca team describe the project in the following way:

“ARCA (ARK, in English) is a symbol of renovation, transformation, protection, rebirth. In a time when the city of São Paulo seeks new solutions, new spaces, ARCA emerges as a venue to hosts the ideas, people and happenings that will transform the city – all under the same roof that once provided shelter to an icon of São Paulo’s industrial revolution.”

This week it was a great honour and pleasure for Maria and I to speak at Votorantim.hub, an incredible event at Arca which was hosted by all of the companies which form part of Votorantim Group. This two-day event showcased the excellent projects which are transforming the business for the future, including new technologies, products, services and experiences with a focus on the circular economy, society and regeneration.

Priscila Cruz

Priscila Cruz, President of Todas Pela Educação

At Votorantim.hub the notion of ‘deep touch’ was positioned as just as important as ‘deep tech’ (Votorantim Cements), with many other companies discussing related themes such as circular economy solutions, the future of education and clean energy.


Photo: Simon Robinson

We spoke about Customer Experiences with Soul and agile organisations, a conversation which allowed us to explore the question of where, in a world with so much focus on technology, is the soul?

Photo: Luis Claudio Pinho

Our neighboorhood has an eclectic mix of residents, including many artists, musicians, celebrities and other creative people. I am not someone who naturally goes up to speak to people I do not know, and Maria with her Brazilian soul has often encouraged me to start conversations I would never have initiated myself.

Branco Mello

So for example some time ago I spoke with one of Brazil’s most famous rock bass guitarists, Branco Mello from Titãs, who lives in the vicinity albeit not in Vila Leopoldina itself. With Maria’s encouragement I have discovered the natural warmth of Brazilians and met many wonderful people as a result.

This weekend Maria has been in Joinville, where she is teaching at Sustentare Business School. I popped out for some lunch, and on my way back home I passed a curious shop front which I must have passed countless times, but never stopped to understand exactly what on earth it was.

To me it seemed to be some kind of tiny printers or stationers, but always has interesting objects of art. As you can see, it is a difficult type of space to classify or simply get.

Photo: Simon Robinson

The picture on the easel caught my eye, but I didn’t stop. But a few metres ahead I decided to return and take a look, noticing the very interesting pictures on the wall. I wanted to take a picture but decided not to, and left. But then I returned once more and a chap came out from behind the metal screens.

Photo: Simon Robinson

I asked if I could take some photos, and he brought out an additional vase for me.

Photo: Simon Robinson

Wanting to know exactly what the shop was, we began to chat. The artwork on the wall is that of Carlos, who I was speaking with and it turns out that this little space is in fact his studio. We talked about some of the other prints on the wall.

Photo: Simon Robinson

In the top left hand corner you can see “Paulada”, a character he has created to show both the strength of Brazilian women and also to show the importance of defending Brazil’s rich ecosystems, so important not only for the country but for the whole of the world. Carlo’s art mixes his desire to create characters together with an ecological sensitivity, the result of which is this amazing series of paintings.

All of these are actually laser printed copies, which sell for around £16 each. If I understood him correctly, Carlos said that he did not want to sell the original paintings, but the copies in order to make his art as accessible as possible.

Today was a wonderful encounter with a gentle soul who is using his small space in this neighbourhood to help spread the message of the protection of our environment and the celebration of womanhood. No matter who you are, no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ you may perceive yourself to be, there will always be space in the world for your message, your art and your soul. The transition of consciousness of humanity is a collective venture, and while technology of course will play a huge role, it is through art we can engage in the vision and reconnect with the soul of our collective humanity.

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