|Brasil. Nike, Ginga, Art & Athletics|
'To shake the body, to shake with skill' is one of the simplest definitions of Ginga that we've come across while doing research on the subject. Ginga, however, is not just a way of describing a form of movement, it can be seen as one of the central attributes in Brasilian culture, "it's one of the traces traces that make Brasilians Brasilian".(1) Ginga is what sets Samba apart from all other dances, Ginga is how Brasilians play soccer, Ginga is the central element of Capoeira - the constant movement which leads to an attack or a defensive move.
Ginga is also the central element of Nike's campaign to communicate some of Brasil's stories in the context of sports. It's a fusion of art, music, and athletics, with soccer playing the central role. Brasil is Ginga, Ginga is the Rythm and Art of the Movement...
Graffiti, Film, Photography
The art of Os Gemeos is one part of Nike's project dedicated to Brasil. Os Gemeos, Portugese for "the twins", have been painting in the streets of their hometown São Paulo since 1987. As with most graffiti artists, Os Gemeos early on were mainly influenced by everything Hip Hop - the music, the breakdancing, and the subway art out of New York City. Os Gemeos, however, quickly parted with the popular NYC-based aesthetics and over the years developed their unique style.
Apart from their visuals, it's their technique and use of painting materials/tools which sets Os Gemeos apart from many artists active in urban environments. For one, the twins commonly use latex-paint as the basis for their murals. While the first layer, the background, is "rolled" onto the wall the details are then spray-painted. Another characteristic is the predominant use of the colors yellow and red in their paintings. While this tonality makes Os Gemeos' pieces easily recognizable even from great distances, the color yellow also has a deeper meaning to the twins: "There is a spiritual side too, that completes and balances all."(2)
It is difficult to try to squeeze Os Gemeos into the general category of graffiti art, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but mainly due to the fact that they express with their art their own cultural heritage, their roots. Their rich visual language and their unique style is what brought them into Nike's project. Os Gemeos were chosen to represent their art in a series of exhibitions and events in various cities spread across the globe.
For "The Rythm and Art of Movement", the photographer Enrico Salvadori was asked to produce a documentary of Brasilian sports culture. Salvadori took his camera literally everywhere where sports - of some sort - are being played. His photographs depict scenes at Brasil's beaches where kids play soccer, there are inner-city sports fields, empty arenas, as well as packed stadiums with heavy security, Salvadori shows us skateboarding, and Capoeira, people playing in teams with or against each other...
Enrico Salvadori's subjects are manifold, all telling of a rich culture of sports within the Brasilian society. Looking at them gives the viewer an idea about what Ginga is about - the energy, the playfulness, the attitude with which Brasilians engage in athletics.
Fernando Meireilles / 02 Filmes
Moving images is the third segment of Nike's project. As the executive producer, Fernando Meireilles - the director of City of God - was in charge of putting together a documentary movie about Ginga and the art of soccer in Brasil. Directed by Hank Levine, Tocha Alves, and Marcelo Machado from O2 Films, the movie tells the story of six players from the various regions and social backgrounds of Brasil. Again, soccer is presented in its most raw of forms, as being played in the streets, backyards, or at the beach.
With "The Rythm and Art of Movement", Nike is bringing to our attention an aspect of athletics that one can easily loose sight of with all of the professionalization in sports. It is an interesting project with a quality line-up of contributors. Especially the fact that Nike gives two highly talented artists the opportunity to showcase their art on a global level is a highly positive trait - and, yes, Os Gemeos deserve it!
Ok, we cannot end this bit without a short notice in terms of products... Yes, there will be shoes, yes, they will be limited... Yes, they have a soccer background. On April 23rd the Os Gemeos Nike Zoom Air FCs will be released. The colorways represent the cities on Os Gemeos' trip around the world. Even though the shoes are rather plain, there is a detail on the heel that make them the special Os Gemeos footwear.
This coming Monday (April 11th) - London's ICA will be the venue for Nike's next stop on their tour. You need to have an invitation, please remember that.
Text: Jörg Haas, April 2005
(1) J.C. de Souza Tavares
(2) Art Crimes
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