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Brazil - Expo Antwerp 1930

Brazil at the Exhibition Expo Antwerp 1930
© Hersleven

Located in the most monumental sector of the exhibition, near the large Belgian halls and the Congo Palace, the Brazil pavilion, imposing in its size and rich architecture, was one of the main buildings of the exhibition.

Brazil's participation was particularly brilliant. The Brazilians welcomed the idea with an enthusiasm that was soon translated into action. The memory of the brilliant Belgian participation in the Rio de Janeiro exhibition and that of the unforgettable visit of the King and Queen to Brazil had prompted this country to present, in its pavilion, an eloquent synthesis of the activity of its nationals.

The organisation of the Brazilian participation was therefore a difficult task. It was necessary to present, in the Brazilian palace, the innumerable varieties of fauna and flora of 19 states, to highlight the richness and extent of this country's territory, and to centralise and group together, in a relatively short time, all the Brazilian products likely to be of interest to exporters. The organisers soon had a record 796 exhibitors and 19 countries. The Brazilian pavilion featured the extremely varied participation of producers of coffee, cotton, edible and oleaginous fruits, rubber, cocoa, tobacco, maté, sugar, cereals, wood, fibre, etc. The industrial participation highlighted the products of the Brazilian industry. The industrial participation highlighted foodstuffs, minerals and ores, wool, cotton and silk fabrics, metallurgy, ceramics, pharmaceutical and chemical products, furniture, etc.

Designed by the architect Pedro Paulo Bernardès Bastos, the Brazilian pavilion was of a very happy architecture, admirably proportioned. It was awarded a grand-prix diploma. The artist Hans Nobauer, who created the admirable wall decoration in the main hall, was awarded the same distinction.

The pavilion opened with a large lounge decorated with allegorical frescoes depicting the various faces of Brazilian activity and the most evocative landscapes of Brazil. Decorated with an original parquet floor made of various Brazilian woods cut into mosaics, this room contained several display cabinets where marquetry work, collections of gems and precious stones, tropical fruits, lace, gold and silverware, hunting accessories, ceramic art work, ivory objects, stuffed armadillos, etc. were exhibited.

In the right-hand hall, there were leathers and their derivatives and the skins of animals peculiar to Brazil. Then came the industrial exhibition, with a wide variety of participants, the food products exhibition, the rubber and oilseed exhibition, the wood section, one of the great successes of the exhibition, where not only Brazilian wood was on display, but also the countless art objects made from it. There was also the fibre exhibition, the tobacco exhibition, the collection of Brazilian butterflies presented to the King and Queen of Belgium, and on the first floor, the fabric industries, furniture, etc. In the basement, there were dioramas and photographs representing the various tourist and industrial aspects of Brazil. There was also a free coffee and mate tasting service. In an adjacent cinema room, outstanding films about Brazil were shown.

The Brazilian participation gave rise to various celebrations, including the Brazilian week, during which the Brazilian colony in Antwerp put flowers on the war memorial. The following days were full of celebrations in which the Antwerp elite took part.

For its magnificent participation in the exhibition, Brazil was awarded 219 grand prizes, 86 diplomas of honour, 231 gold medals, 149 silver medals, 22 bronze medals, 89 mentions outside the competition, making a total of 796 awards.

We must congratulate and thank all the leaders of the Brazilian participation, and particularly Mr. Paulo Vidal, Commissioner General of the Brazilian government, who was the soul of this organisation, and who spent himself without counting the cost, multiplying initiatives, organising sumptuous parties, in short, doing everything possible to ensure that his pavilion, and the Antwerp exhibition, would be a great success.

The tangible results of these efforts were crowned. Brazil, through its remarkable participation in the Antwerp exhibition, has seen its reputation spread magnificently in Belgium. New commercial currents will not fail to be created as a result of the exhibition, which has proved that Belgium has everything to gain by tightening its relations with this great country, which has never ceased to show us the warmest and most effective friendship.

©Le livre d'or de l'Exposition Internationale Coloniale, Maritime et d'Art Flamand - Anvers 1930