Biennial of São Paulo exposes colonial scars

The show and performance mark the beginning of an exhibition that will last longer and spread throughout the city.

South African composer Neo Muyanga draws the actors attention, dispersed throughout the auditorium of the Bienal pavilion, in Ibirapuera Park, to begin the rehearsal. He apologizes for the limited Portuguese: "I will speak in my colonial language".

So, it is in English that Muyanga explains the performance that members of the Black Theater Collective Legitima Defense now stage at the opening of the 34th Bienal of São Paulo, a corrupted version of the Amazing Grace praise hymn.

The song, a symbol of black solidarity and closely associated with American Baptist churches - one of his most famous recordings was made by Aretha Franklin in one of these -, was actually written by a former British slave trader, John Newton, in the 18th century.

Read more in Folha de S. Paulo

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