Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos
This mural is an artistic collaboration of Mona Caron and Mauro Neri, and a community-wide participatory project, funded by over 140 small local social organizations and nonprofits, coordinated by the social organization Lappus. It features a portrait of a local community activist, together with a plant called justice, which is used in the Umbanda religion to dispel negative energies.
The mural is painted in the heart of Porto Alegre's civic hub housing all justice-related departments, from the tribunal, to the offices of the attorney general.
"Quebra-tudo" and "abre caminhos" are two of the common names by which the plant, Justice Gendarussa, is known. The names translate as "shatter everything" and "open new paths".
The model for the allegoric figure in this mural was Beatriz Gonçalves, known as Bia da Ilha, a community activist and Umbanda priestess from a periphery neighborhood of Porto Alegre. As a priestess, Bia uses the Quebra-tudo plant ritualistically, and informed our research on the properties of this plant, which is highly symbolic to practitioners of the afro-syncretic religion and more generally to the local black community.
The mural and a number of accompanying civic activities were organized by the local social organization Lappus Laboratorio de Politicas Públicas, who conducted a carefully targeted fundraising, coordinated the hands-on participation of over two dozen local artists, and scheduled all sorts of community activities near and during the mural installation.