Space to enhance Afro-Brazilian cultural relations
Do you know Casa do Benin? Inaugurated in 1988, the space is in a big house in Rua Padre Agostinho Gomes, near Taboão, in Pelourinho. In the heart of the Historic Center, Casa do Benin represents a piece of Africa where the exchange of cultures back and forth is created. This cultural space has an important Afro-Brazilian artistic and cultural collection and is maintained by the Gregório de Mattos Foundation to enhance Afro-Brazilian cultural relations.
The House has a collection of about 200 pieces from the Gulf of Benin, collected by French photographer Pierre Verger during his trips to Africa, to study the ebb and flow between Africa and Bahia. It also has pieces related to afrodiasporic culture, donated by artists and institutions. Another interesting fact is that colorful fabrics are hanging, making the place more lively. These are from the plastic artist and designer Goya Lopes, one of the pioneers to work creatively with Afro-Brazilian fashion.
The renovation has the project of the Italian-Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. Inside the mansion there is the Pierre Verger Museum Space, where the pieces of the permanent collection with Beninese works are exhibited; the Lina Bo Bardi Exhibition Room, which hosts temporary exhibitions; and the Gilberto Gil Auditorium, a place for small community-focused events and workshops.
In the courtyard, there is the Jeje Nagô Gourmet Space, with architecture inspired by the style of old restaurants of Beninese rural communities. The “Tatassomba” is a replica of buildings from Benin, developed by architect Lina Bo Bardi, made of clay and with a thatched roof. There is also another building, all in burnt cement – one of the architect’s signatures. There, there is a multifunctional room, plus a terrace from where you can see the old houses of the Historic Center with another look.
In addition, Casa do Benin organizes, promotes, disseminates and supports, through exhibitions, Bahian artists whose inspiration is African art. Therefore, the museum contributes significantly to the recognition and appreciation of this art, as well as encouraging artists who invest in and are inspired by it. Several socio-cultural and educational activities have already been carried out, such as lectures, meetings, courses, workshops and guided tours, in order to enhance and disseminate Afro-Brazilian culture knowledge, as well as effectively bringing us closer to the communities surrounding the Museum.
If you are taking a tour of the Historic Center, the good thing is to go first to Church of the Rosary of the Black People and from there to go to Benin House. It’s close to each other.
Baixa dos Sapateiros, 7 – Pelourinho, Salvador-BA, 40025-005
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Admission is free
Phone #: (71) 3202-7890
Casa do Benin. Acervo Permanente. Foto: Bruno Concha/ Assessoria.