OUR BRAZILIAN COLLECTION TELLS THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF AN AFRICAN KING SLAVED WITH HIS TRIBE TO HARD LABOR IN A BRAZILIAN GOLD MINE. AND HOW HE MANAGED TO BUY THEIR FREEDOM AND BUILD THE FIRST CHURCH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY IN MINAIS GERAIS.
Put Germany, Angola, Italy, Portugal and Japan in a blender, shake for a while and what will probably come out is a Japanese talking German and dancing like an African with Italian designer clothes on.
Close the blender, shake it again and what comes out? A paradisical beach full of gorgeous bikini women "sambaing" away, bullets whizzing by and favela boys and police apologising with: “tudo joia, belezza irmão”.
But if you close the shaker one more time and give it a really good shake, what do you get??
A groovy Catholic church with a cool Black Jesus and a trendy Black Mary!
We didn’t see this story coming, and this is why it became the story of our Brazilian collection:
Galanga was a king from 1600s Congo who was made a slave and sent to Brazil with his tribe to work in a gold mine.
The Portuguese gave him the nickname Chico Rei, or Chico the King.
Chico Rei had to find a way out of the mine for his tribe. He decided they should buy their freedom. He gathered them all and ordered them not to wash or cut their hair... While working in the mine, gold dust settled in their hair: all they had to do was wash all together in the same fountain.
When a layer of gold started showing at the bottom of the fountain, the women collected the water and the gold. Slowly but surely, Chico Rei got enough gold to buy the freedom of his people. Once the whole tribe was freed, Chico also bought a piece of land where he unexpectedly found gold.
With this gold he built a church for the slaves where all the Saints were Africans. And this is how we met.
The (real) story of Chico Rei is now an iconic part of the Afro Brazilian folklore. It has captured the imagination of many storytellers and, surely enough, a Samba has been written about him!Shop this collection
To get the full story, click here and download the lovely book we made about Chico Rei's story.Download the Book
photographer: Kan J.
model: Beisy Quintana
location: illustrations inspired from J. Borges and in collaboration with Derlon Almeida