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Visual Chronicles of Resistance: Remembering Rafael Braga

Written by Jeferson Scabio |


The face was painted with a stencil three times on the same pole. One of the replicas was inscribed just above the advertisement: ‘Black meat for sale; phone: 190’. Underneath another replica, the graffiti read: ‘Rafael Vieira: arrested for carrying disinfectant.’.

Published on ‘For the Freedom of Rafael Braga’s’ Facebook page, these photos of stencils appear next to others, capturing posters and graffiti inscribing Rafael Braga’s ‘case’ on Rio de Janeiro’s urban spaces. Many of these are placed within the city centre, yet the page portrays the inscriptions frequently occurring in Cascatinha, the favela where Braga lives.

‘Free Rafael Braga!’ appears graffitied with straight letters along a provisional wall on a street corner and with the large, hasty letters taking over a long wall on a busy street. It appears next to ‘Enough racist prisons!’ on a structure around the Assembléia Legislativa do Rio de Janeiro building, then under reform, and as one of several inscriptions made on the walls of the City Council during a demonstration. In another demonstration, a photo captures someone writing ‘Free Rafael Braga!’ at the back of a newsstand, the body partially hidden behind the anarchist flag held by his colleague’s hands. Braga’s printed face illustrates posters glued to walls, pillars, and electric boxes. There is also a set of big graffiti with his face, mainly outside the city centre. His face was graffitied all over the retractable door of a commercial room—'Love; Indignation; Hope’, written above. It was also painted between ‘Free Rafael Braga!’ and ‘Enough of racist prisons!’ in Mangueira favela. Others, such as a four-metre-high piece of graffiti right in front of a school in Niteroi, portrayed the campaign’s symbol: the face at the centre of ‘Campaign for the Freedom of Rafael Braga’.