Kobra makes portraits of refugees in front of the Immigration Museum 

To create the mural “Windows Open to the World”, the artist talked to refugees from Libya, Palestine, Iraq, Venezuela, Angola and India

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Priscilia, da Libia, de braços abertos na frente de seu mural
Priscilia, from Libya, with open arms in front of her mural

One of the most worrying crises in the contemporary world is the human flow of people fleeing political or religious wars or extreme poverty. According to the UNHCR  , in 2021 alone, 29,107 requests for refugee status were made in Brazil – the majority being Venezuelans, Syrians and Congolese. 

Our country was formed by immigrants and, not by chance, this story is told in an interesting museum in Mooca: Museu da Imigração. The location seemed perfect, so for artist Kobra to create Windows Open to the World a mural with about 800 m² where he portrayed eight refugees, from different origins, which live in São Paulo. The building that now houses the museum was originally an inn that received migrants, many of them refugees, who often stayed at its windows watching the movement of the new city.

A palestina Noura e Eduardo Kobra na frente do mural “Janelas Abertas para o Mundo”
The Palestinian Noura and Eduardo Kobra in front of the mural “Open Windows to the World”

Along the mural it is possible to see painted windows showing Noura Bader, from Palestine; Priscília Mbuku Bazonga, from Libya; Seema Bashar Hameed Aluqla of Iraq; Andres Samuel Peralta Guedez, from Venezuela; Mafueni Delfina and Mabanza Victor James Henoe, from Angola; Vijay Bavaskar and Deepali Bavaskar from India. Kobra spoke with each of the refugees to learn about their stories and personalities and painted windows where each refugee appears showing a little of their culture in the vibrant colors characteristic of the artist's work.

In an official note, the artist stressed the importance of welcoming. “It is necessary to open the windows, but also the doors, eyes and hearts to welcome these people who abdicated their homelands and needed, for various reasons, to move. May they be happy and manage to rebuild their lives on Brazilian soil,” Kobra said in a statement. One of the highlights is the young Priscília Mbuku Bazonga, 12 years old, born in Libya, who appears with open arms in the painting. 

Retrato da palestina Noura por Eduardo Kobra
Portrait of Palestinian Noura by Eduardo Kobra
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