Blog Post

A Celebration of Salvador de Bahia through Literature and Photography

Antônio Frederico de Castro Alves was a poet and abolitionist who lived in Bahia in the mid-1800s. Even though he died at the early age of 24, his accomplishments are still celebrated throughout Brazil. It is fitting that the photography and poetry competition sponsored by WMF and American Express focused on the historic center of Salvador de Bahia was held at the Casa de Castro Alves, the poet’s family home and now a cultural center located in Rua do Passo. The awards “Premio Castro Alves de Arte” were given to a young poet and an amateur photographer who described in words and images the essence of being and living in the historic center of Bahia. The main objectives of the competition were to stimulate local collective memory and raise public awareness about the built heritage of Salvador. The winning entries announced in a public event on October 14 conveyed the essence of a pilgrimage that started in the lower city, ascended through the Lacerda Elevator, traversed the center of the upper city, through the “Pelourinho” (pillory), and ended at the Rua do Passo along the Ladeira do Pilar.

The Castro Alves project also included public workshops, a history course based on ten historic sites, and the exhibition of the work of several professional photographers under the common theme “The Affective Cartography of the City of Salvador.”

This program constituted the final phase of the WMF- and American Express-sponsored project for Salvador de Bahia (2012 Watch) that started with the development of the conceptual design for the Reference Center for Bahian Culture named the Centro da Cidade. The temporary display of the center’s design, executed by the Escritório de Referência do Centro Antigo (Historic Center Reference Office), the Bahia Estate government office in charge of the rehabilitation and management of the Salvador de Bahia historic center, was inaugurated in August 2013, and its permanent installation will be complete by 2016 with funding from the Bahia Estate Government.