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The Rio project was a key moment in my artistic career, as I’ve been working there for more than 10 years, in the favelas, in the city, with museums; and I was always scared of going back with a large work which could link all the different worlds in which I’ve worked. These Giants were an ideal way to return, as they combined all these worlds, museum installations taking pride of place in the heart of the city, visible to everyone. The important thing for me in a city like that, and in the current context, was to make these works as non-elitist as possible, and as they were in the public domain, everyone had the same chance to see them.
For me, the subject matter was amazing. I had never imagined that, and I hope to be back there again in the future! There are so many layers in human terms, not just sporting, with everything that happens behind the scenes. And there are links to my work, which is to place the human being at the forefront, regardless of background or colour.
My best memory is of the Maracanãzinho, the little stadium next to the famous Maracanã, where my team and I sat to watch the whole world’s athletes arrive, without photographers or cameras, before going into the Opening Ceremony. I had the impression of seeing a human map of the world.
The majority of my works are ephemeral; they make an impact on people and continue to exist through photographs that people share, or which I myself do. But the physical object gradually disappears. I imagine that the scaffolding is now being used to build the Brazil of tomorrow, at least I hope so.
I’m finishing a film with director Agnès Varda and starting a new project that I look forward to unveiling next year. And perhaps lots of other Giants? The best way to follow my projects is via social media.
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Recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the Olympic Movement, calls on the IOC to “further strengthen the blending of sport and culture at the Olympic Games and in-between.” The implementation of an artists-in-residence programme during the Games was one of the first measures linked to this recommendation.