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21/03/2017 - 07:00hs

Exhibit and horse race celebrate Arab Community Day

The Arab Chamber will mark the date with an arts and crafts exhibition at a São Paulo Metro station starting next Saturday (25). A thoroughbred Arabian horse race at the city’s Jockey Club is also scheduled.

Sérgio Tomisaki/Câmara Árabe

Wood ship is on display in the exhibition


São Paulo – Marking Arab Community Day in Brazil on March 25, the exhibition “Arts and Crafts in the Arab World” will open next Saturday (25) morning, at the São Bento Metro station, with a thoroughbred Arabian horse race at the São Paulo Jockey Club scheduled for the afternoon in the same day. The exhibition is an initiative of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, which is also sponsoring the horse race and celebrating 65 years this year.

The Metro station exhibition will display art and handicraft pieces from Africa, the Middle East and the Arab Gulf, all part of the Arab Chamber’s collection. The objects were collected during the organization’s six-plus decades of working to strengthen ties between Brazil and the Arab countries. There are over 30 pieces received by the Arab Chamber as gifts and tribute, among them wooden miniature ships, metal teapots, copper swords and daggers, mother-of-pearl and marquetry objects, ceramics and textiles.

The objects were made by anonymous Arab artists, says exhibition curator and Arab Chamber director Silvia Antibas. Pieces from different styles, materials and concepts were thoroughly selected, to escape stereotypical items such as shishas. The goal was to show the region’s diversity, according to her. “The pieces show this variety in the arts in Africa, the Gulf and the Middle East. African art is different from Gulf art, and different from Middle East art,” explains the curator.

The pieces from Arab African countries use more wood, colors, and stones, for instance. According to Antibas, items from the Gulf showcase the pearl fishing tradition, with miniature wood ships, or the tea-drinking tradition. Middle Eastern pieces include marquetry, mosaics and mother-of-pearl. In each region, artists and artisans make use of local materials.

The exhibition is organized in partnership with the São Paulo Metro as part of the latterpart of the latter’s Linha da Cultura program. Antibas says that the idea was to celebrate March 25th in the nearest possible place to March 25th Street, which is accessible through an exit of the São Bento Metro station, and to attract the widest possible audience. Arab Chamber president Rubens Hannun, highlights the fact that the celebration is open to the public, to the population. “The Arab community is integrated to the population in Brazil, thus the celebration has also to be integrated,” he says.

The March 25th Street area has become a symbol of the Arab community, since it was the place where the first immigrants settled and opened their stores as soon as they arrived in Brazil at the end of the 19th century. Due to this bond with the street, in 2008, March 25 was established as Arab Community Day in Brazil.

At the Jockey Club

The Arabian horse race is set for Saturday at 3:30 pm. The event is open to the general public, and betting will be available. According to the Racing director of the Brazilian Arabian Horse Breeders Association (ABBCA), Rodrigo Schulze, nine or ten horses should compete in the race. The purse, i.e. the amount paid to bettors on the first to fifth place, is BRL 20,000 (USD 6,516). The minimum bet is BRL 3 (USD 0.9).

Almost all of the competing horses are from owners in São Paulo state, and almost all of them stay at São Paulo’s Jockey Club, according to Schulze. They will run a 1,400 meter race. Since the race marks Arab Community Day, the race will be for thoroughbred Arabian horses only. Arab Chamber board members will be in attendance.

“We have to celebrate the day of Arab immigrants, because Arabs contributed greatly, and still do, to the development of Brazil,” said Hannun. The president of the Arab Chamber points out that the immigrants integrated themselves completely in the country. “Today, Brazilian is Arab, Arab is Brazilian, thus this date has to be celebrated,” he adds.

Quick info:

Exhibition “Arts and Crafts in the Arab World”
March 25 to April 30, 2017
São Bento Metro Station (inner hall) – Line 1 Blue
Sunday to Friday, from 4:40 am to 12:32 am, Saturday to Sunday, from 4:40 am to 1 am
Largo de São Bento, 109 – Downtown – São Paulo

Thoroughbred Arabian Horse Race
Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 3:30 pm
São Paulo Jockey Club
Av. Lineu de Paula Machado, 1263 - Cidade Jardim - São Paulo

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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