WMF Statement on the Events of January 8, 2023, in Brazil
World Monuments Fund (WMF) expresses concern over the events that took place in Brazil on January 8, 2023, when attempts to storm federal buildings led to damage and looting at several government properties in the capital of Brasília. Brazil’s National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN), the federal agency that oversees the protection of cultural heritage in the country, has begun assessing the damage done to listed sites, including the National Congress building, the Planalto Palace, the Federal Supreme Court, the Espaço Lúcio Costa, the Museu da Cidade, and the Three Powers Plaza. There are also reports that some artworks contained within the buildings were damaged or destroyed.
The buildings affected by Sunday’s violence comprise a vital part of the historic modernist fabric of Brazil’s capital. Conceived by urban designer Lúcio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer, Brasília was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 in recognition of its visionary and harmonious city planning, becoming the first modernist city to ever receive this recognition.
WMF stands in solidarity with the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and expresses its commitment to safeguarding heritage threatened by violence and conflict around the world. In the aftermath of the events of January 8, WMF calls for renewed respect for and protection of the affected buildings and all other sites that comprise Brasília’s irreplaceable heritage.