After a full and glorious day of painting on top of fishing boats in the hot sun, the FlutuArte team took Maxine Nienow’s honey bee boat out to sea, making a return trip to Forte da Laje, the abandoned jail at the mouth of Guanabara Bay.
We entered the fort via rope ladder attached to a crumbling bridge
With us came many friends and local artists including the guys from Riot de Janeiro, the rebel street art crew we’ve been doing a lot of collaborating with here in Rio. It was an honor for us to share the experience of the jail with them, having lived their whole lives in Rio but never really knowing this place existed. Rique, one of the guys wrote about the experience of the fort in his blog saying “it’s one of the most dreamy and beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. We watched the sunset with a 360° vision of the city, sitting on old big cannons.”
A samba band called Pretensao that I had encountered in the Vidigal favela (slum village) a few weeks back came with us on the adventure. They drummed, strummed, and shouted with terrific energy, gracing us with a lively soundtrack to the dreamlike scenery as we cruised under the bridge of the harbor and out into Guanabara Bay. The Christ the Redeemer statue watched over us from the colossal Corcavado mountain as we weaved between colorful fishing boats bobbing up and down lazily in the sparkling water, the sun casting a golden glow over everything it touched.
Pretensao, a local band, making sweet music
Ariel, grilling up some FlutuArte flavor
Ariel Segatto, one of the core members of the FlutuArte project fired up the grill and the aroma of sweet pineapple and smoky shish-kabobs filled the boat. I spent a good portion of the ride to the fort mashing brains with Dan Bratman another core member of the FlutuArte team who had just arrived that morning from New York City. We gushed over the epic scenery and brainstormed about the FlutuArte project and how and why it could change the lives of those it touched.
When we arrived to the fort, we entered the only way you should invade an abandoned jail from the 1700’s… by climbing the dangling rope ladder up to the dilapidated bridge which leads to the entrance. Once aboard the island we made our way to the top of the fort the only way one should… by climbing up an ancient staircase, flaky with rusting metal, through the dense, dark ambiguity of the center chamber of the fort and out the giant gun shafts onto the top. There the folks experiencing this for the first time proceeded to freak out from the glorious epic-ness of it all.
Life is awesome
Guanabara Bay was all around us, the holy mountains jutting out of the sea, black as night against the backdrop of the electric orange sunset. Is this my life!? My heart was overflowing with emotion and gratitude for the beauty surrounding me.
As the sun crept below the horizon, we left the fort the only way one should… by gripping hands and jumping off the old bridge, screaming loudly as we plummeted into the cold, salty waters below.
I love you so.