Saturday, June 23, 2012

Next Stop - Belo Horizonte - Part 3

What a great night sleep and we wake to another day filled with clear sunny skies.  I am happy the hotel is nice and it has a good breakfast to start our day as we have extended our stay a couple more nights.  I am not sure what is on the itinerary as we get ready this morning but I do know our destination is a little bit of a drive.  There has been discussion of visiting a couple of places not far from Belo Horizonte.  One is Ouro Preto which my English student told me is a must visit in the area and the other is unknown to me.  I am not sure which got voted on for today's journey so I will just have to wait and see when we get there.
We take off a little after 10:00 A.M. driving along the ridge at the edge of Belo Horizonte where the mall is and all the tall buildings are being constructed.  The road leads us out of town to the hilly landscape surrounding the city.  The drive is filled with twisting roads and small third world villages filled with people  going about their usual day.   It is less then an hour and we arrive in Brumadinho but our travels are not quite complete.  Just outside this dirt road filled community we pull into the parking area of Inhotim.  Not sure what we will find here but the parking lot is half full and the driveway leading up to the entrance is lined with beautiful palm trees making quite a statement
Inhotim:  Institute of Contemporary Art and Botanical Garden:  For years this 5,000 acre area was a private farm enjoyed by colleagues of the famous mining magnate Bernardo Paz.  In 2006 he opened the farm up to the public allowing them to enjoy what he and Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx had created.  Of course at this time in our journey I was not aware of what lied ahead. All I could tell is that it was well manicured, it accommodated some wealthy visitors as there was a helicopter pad in the corner of the parking lot, and it must be far removed from the poverty which surrounds it.  This was obvious by the heavily armed guards at its entrance.  As we approach the front gates, I was hoping most of the day would be spent outside as the sun was shining and the temperatures were perfect for a walk.
We pass through the gates to the ticket counters that resemble any ticketing area found in the United States.  After purchasing our passes we gravitate towards the little gift shop.  The shop is filled with hammocks,  butterfly cages and all the other items needed to fill one's yard.  Still at this point I am not sure what we have paid for but it must be garden related by the items in the little shop.  Soon we turn in our tickets and head down the perfectly cobblestone path to begin our exploration.  A few steps and the path splits in two directions around a calm clear little lake surrounded by grand palm and eucalyptus trees.  This was
only one of many man made lakes  that accent the gardens and provide the swans a geese a place to swim within the boarders of the property.  We head off to the left as we see a building in the near distance, just past the little wooden bridge.  This will be a taste of what we will find in this intriguing place.  Upon entering the first building we are required to remove our shoes in the little entryway.  Through the doors we enter the first room which is decorated with all the normal amenities of an home except everything is red.  Yes - everything is ruby red and to be quite honest it is the red which is my favorite color.  I really want to snap a couple photos but we were informed by the girl at the entrance that there is no photography in any of the galleries we will visit today.  (I did end up finding some photos 
Red room photo found on the intenet 
to share with you on the internt.)     I look at all the amazing red, everything you can imagine,  some of it natural and some of it painted this shade of red,  until we get to the other end of the room.  On the floor is some paint  which is spilled and dry.  It is obviously intentionally spilled to guide guests into the next room as it trails away into the pitch black space.  We round the corner and on the opposite wall where the spilled red paint tapers is a light.  As we approach the light it is obviously illuminating a sink and upon closer examination the sink is running red water.  Oddly I find the exhibit to be quite peaceful even with
another internet photo - this one of
the glass room - click to enlarge it
its hint of morbidity.  We head back to the front door,  put on our shoes and track off to the door just a few steps away.  Inside this entrance the young gentleman informs us to keep our shoes on and advises those wearing flip flops are only allowed around the edge of the exhibit.  Once we enter the dimly lit room it is clear to see why.  A basin is covered with shattered glass and above it hanging from the ceiling are different items like wire and cloth pieces which create a maze of sorts.  In the center of this so called maze is a large white ball.  Fortunately I have worn walking shoes so I get to step on the glass and check out the white sphere in the middle.  Once again I am not sure why but it is a wonderful experience but that is what art is supposed 
another internet photo
to do - make you think and experience.  I think of it as an account of a post apocalyptic adventure with shattered ruins all around.  Oh how your mind can wander to different places given the right stimulus.  OK,  in writing this post I realize there is no way to convey the artistic value of these galleries.  I would never be able to share each of them we explored as there are over 500 artists from Brazil and around the world represented throughout the gardens.  To be quite honest there are just too many to share.  I would encourage anyone who loves art and botanical gardens to add this hidden gem to your bucket list.
We spend the rest of the day wondering around the wonderful gardens while exploring the art galleries scattered throughout.  My favorite galleries would have to be the stark white room filled with hammocks as you know I love a good afternoon hammock nap.  The observation deck where you can listen to the center of the earth. The installation which challenges the deforestation of the Amazon region of Brazil.  Housed in a large glass dome,  an enormous log cutting machine with its claws wrapped around a stark white tree with roots embedded in the machine.  This is only a few of the gallery highlights we discovered.  There are so many more wonderful works displayed though out the gardens right next to the wild life and spectacular vegetation.
  Not only was I impressed with the art in the galleries but throughout the gardens lye trinkets of wonderful artistic vision.   The good thing about the pieces in the garden is there are no limitation on photography and it is simply a wonderful day for photographs.     My favorite were the looking balls in the reflecting pools.  The soft breeze pushing them in different direction creating a wonderfully relaxing sound.  Another favorite was the colorful concrete shapes protruding from the earth adding a wonderful contrast to the green surroundings. Oh heck,  there are just too many exhibits in Inhotim that intrigue me
that I would like to share with you and this blog post would just be too long.  I can only encourage you to give Inhotim a high mark on your bucket list.   So much to share and looking back at the day, it was simply wonderful.  Walking all over the 5000 acres sure did not seem like much but I am sure we covered several miles.  At the beginning of the evening we decide to head back to the city and meet up with Ronaldo and Luiz O for dinner again.  It is another great day exploring the wonderful hidden treasure Inhotim.

Interesting facts about Inhotim 

  • The garden is home to the largest collection of palm trees in the world with over 1300 species. 
  • Art - there are about 500 pieces by 97 artists from 30 nationalities. 
  • They have a large education program for the community. 
  • It has the largest collection of living plant species in Brazil with over 4,000 native and exotic species.
  • They have visitors guides in English - you don't find that many places in Brazil. 

 Read Part 4 - CLICK HERE 

If you are interested in other photos Ihotim - I have provided a link to goolge images - enjoy!
picture of Inhotim from Google Images 

where you can listen to the center of the world 
a pipe runs through it all! 

Building nestled among the gardens

another one of my favorites

and another one of my favorites 

Lunch - a little expensive. 

Read Part 4 - CLICK HERE 

No comments: