Dubai: What would it feel like if you were living and swimming along the meandering Amazon River? The Brazil Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai gives you that experience to the primordial rhythmic beats of percussion and more.
Though Brazil inaugurated its pavilion on Friday, it welcomed 4,000 visitors during a trial run just the week before. And the crowd is swarming to the Brazil Pavilion for good reason, too – you get to journey 12,373 kilometres without having to take a flight, with your feet submerged in the tropical Rio Negro – the largest blackwater river in the world.
“The water is refrigerated and filtered for people to actually feel it [with their bare feet]. I think it’s a very good experience; we have been seeing kids diving in, playing and jumping,” Raphael Nascimento, Pavilion Director of Brazil, told Gulf News. It came as a relief, he added, when people knew what to do with the shallow pool of water without being told.
In an avenue lined with arresting pavilions, Brazil is a quiet oasis sheltered by 19-metre-tall lofty projection walls. Some wander in during the day to lounge by the artificial river while others come in curious at night, lured by audio-visual shows bringing the best of Brazil to life. Much like taking a trip to the Amazonia or Rio de Janeiro, visitors get the full immersive adventure brought about by 125 powerful projectors and the addictive beat of Latin American music.
Creating people-centred exhibitions is the Brazilian approach to World Expos. “In Milan [at Expo 2015], we had this massive net that people could walk on while they received information about Brazilian agriculture,” said Nascimento. “We used our experience from then to select our project for Dubai. The idea is not to overcrowd people with messages – we want them to have fun.”
If you’re not too fond of getting wet, there is a dry path above the water level that takes you straight to the centre of the action. On the first floor, a viewing deck also offers a comfortable vantage point from lounge chairs especially shipped from Brazil.
The South American country continues the tradition at Expo 2020, relaying its sustainable agricultural practices and strides in producing sugarcane ethanol – a type of renewable biofuel – to power cars through various media. The world fairs take up an important space in Brazil’s history, with the International Exposition of Rio De Janeiro held in 1922 altering its landscapes forever.
Nascimento beams with pride as he shows off a bronze medal souvenir, carefully placed in a velvet black case, from his personal collection. The antique shop buy reads ‘Exposição Internacional Rio De Janeiro 1922-1923’ on the outer edges, also marking the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence.