Why tear down Borba Gato and keep Victor Brecheret – 07/31/2021 – Marcelo Leite

The arson attack on the statue of Borba Gato sparked a wave of Manichean opinions. Some more excited, for or against, suggested that the next victim might be the monument to the flags of Victor Brecheret.

The portrait of Bandeirante in Santo Amaro deserves it and became more authentic with the colored stones that were licked by black smoke as if in mourning. It would be even better to be demolished. However, Ibirapuera’s work deserves to stay as it is.

Only the aesthetic value of the most famous work of the modernist Brecheret would fully justify its preservation and safety, especially in contrast to the monstrosity of the blunderbuss. But there are more reasons to resolve the apparent contradiction between defending one and rejecting the other.

Both works are an homage to projects that shaped the history of São Paulo. But there are subtle differences, such as the fact that one alludes to a type of expedition that is not explained in the other, and no subtle differences, such as the presence of horses, Indians and a ship left out by the enemy.

In the first case, the giant is the canoe. With this, incursions into the interior were carried out, which followed the course of the Tietê to the west, away from the sea. Geology was the great enemy, because the hardest rocky outcrops formed rapids and waterfalls that you had to avoid.

The barge is being pulled across the country in the Herculean effort of the multitude of indigenous peoples who have assisted these river trips, better known as monsoons. Flags were generally carried on foot, and the bandeirantes were poor people, almost always barefoot, without Borba Gato’s boots.

Horses look a little out of place as it seems impractical to transport them in boats. Here the question arises: Who are the company’s real heroes, mounted gentlemen who lead the column, or the mass of forts that donate the blood on which history slides?

Indians trapped on previous expeditions died like flies in the gruesome entrances to capture and enslave a few hundred other relatives of the Guarani, Terena, Kaiowá, Kaingang, Kayapó, Krenak and Xavante who still make up the land of São Paulo inhabited. This is how pioneering entrepreneurs operated.

Historian Warren Dean reports that in 1607, 240 native “pieces” of a single flag were killed at the rate of three per day. The balance between the dead and the enslaved was referred to by pioneers without capital as the “cure of sertão” to buy African blacks.

None of this can be seen in the 13-meter-high statue of Júlio Guerra: a man in a static pose who stares blankly (not to mention insanity), a loner whose only support is a weapon. Brutalist prototype of hillbilly rule to glorify genocide as nation-building when Paulistas were just poor people looking for gold.

For no other reason have so many right-wing extremists, embodied by the prospector president, campaigned for the statue of a criminal. It will come as little surprise when Borba Gato’s next demonstration in defense of oxen, bullets and Bibles takes place at Borba Gato’s feet.

After all, for those who rob society of Nazis, bandits, Indians and good “communists” are dead bandits, Indians and “communists”. To see everything.

It was amazing to find more balanced people who are in the middle or slightly (very slightly) left and join the defense of this other myth on the pretext of preserving public property. Brecheret tells the story of São Paulo without hiding actors and tensions; War worships historical heritage that is only shameful.

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