Brazil’s 1st Anti-Torture monument

(source, via Wikipedia)

At the cross streets of Avenida Mário Melo and Rua da Aurora, at the Praça Padre Henrique in the neighborhood of Boa Vista, there’s a monument that’s hard to miss. Its purpose is to honor political ‘dissidents’ who were ‘disappeared’ during the military dictatorship in Brazil.

The monument itself is the result of a 1988 competition held by the city of Recife and the movement Torture, Never Again, in which more than 20 teams of artists and architects participated for a chance to win. The announcement of the winner, Demetrio Albuquerque,  also included an announcement to redevelop the area. The sculpture was built five years later through an agreement with the Brazilian Portland Cement Association, which wanted a cement-based exhibition space on the edge of the Capibaribe river. The monument was finally inaugurated on August 27, 1993 at 10 am with the presence of political leaders and relatives of dead and missing politicians.

The sculpture of the man is in a fetal position with reference to the position of torture called “parrot stick.” His face is turned away, toward the river. This symbology was chosen as an emblem of the actual conditions of the tortured during the military regime and, more than that, as a representation of the human condition, degradation, isolation, exclusion and abandonment that many felt during those times in Brazil.


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