Brazil - Project BIRA (Children's Games in the Amazon Region)
Streetplay is proud to showcase the work of Renata Meirelles and David Reeks
of Project BIRA (Brincadeiras Infantis do Região Amazônica, translated, Children's Games
in the Amazon Region). The following notes give an overview of their recent
experience and the goals of their work.
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Boy throwing a top he carved out of a Guava tree branch. This is
in a Wapichana Indian community near Boa Vista (photo by Renata
Project BIRA is a cultural interchange that investigates, practices, shares,
and spreads the way children play in the north of Brazil.
This project is totally focused on games that are carried out by children, in
areas where spontaneity is the principal means of communication and where the
forest and its embellishments are the source for materials and challenges that
motivate a diverse range of actions. These actions are easily recognized by
parents, grandparents, and ancestors who play along in some form, even if it's
only through a look that conveys the recognition: "Ahhh, I know how to play
We recall a little top made from a tucumã seed, painstakingly cut and drilled
by children of the Galibi (from Oiapoque) and the Wapichanas (from Roraima).
Its spin generates a fascinating scream that can be heard from afar, and it is
at least one example of how games open paths that don't deplete the pleasure
and beauty of one's actions, while leaving conversation open with the
cultural, historical and social dialects of each people's tradition.
More about Project BIRA (Children's Games in the Amazon Region)