Carroça de Mamulengos

Artist: Carroça de Mamulengos

Maria Gomide is the artistic director of an extraordinary company that has been traveling through Brazil for the past 40 years. It is called Carroça de Mamulengos, which means ‘a wagon full of puppets’.  Maria’s father founded the company in 1977 and since then this family of artists have never stopped moving. Everywhere they stop they manage to make profound contact with the local community. Today, Carroça contains three generations and practises many different art disciplines, including puppetry, clowning, storytelling, music and visual arts. Carroça de Mamulengos is akin to a traveling circus but then with a special focus on participatory arts. They travel around the country in a bus, which serves as their mobile home. They frequently settle somewhere for several months and sometimes even years and they always return to communities they have worked with before. Through workshops and easily accessible activities for people who have little or no access to the arts, they create reciprocal relations – and sustainable networks - with the people they meet along the way.


The main aim of Carroça is to productively investigate - and thereby strengthen – the dynamic, ever evolving living Brazilian culture, along with its roots in indigenous, African and European traditions. The company is convinced that for a robust contemporary culture it is necessary to keep feeding and exploring these roots. This notion forms the main inspiration for the participatory art that Carroça creates and performs in the streets, on public squares, in schools, in circus tents and for young and old, rich and poor. For its participatory activities, Carroça does not to use the term ‘workshop’ but prefers to call them ‘living experiences’. After all, profound learning doesn’t occur by being instructed from above but by experimenting, by designing and producing your own toys, music, dances, puppets (even giant ones), by cooking, and by creating your own paint through mixing natural pigments.


Ten days before ICAF, Maria and three of her family members will settle in the Rotterdam neighbourhood of Delftshaven. It is one of the oldest areas of the city and the location of the largest Capeverdian community outside Cabo Verde and Portugal. Many Capeverdians first came to Rotterdam as sailors or to work in the harbour. Carroça will work with them, their families and the creole culture they brought to the city to co-create material for a festive multidisciplinary presentation with which we’ll conclude the Seventh ICAF on Sunday afternoon, 2 April 2017.


Sunday 2 April 14.30