Vila Brandão is a black, low income neighborhood in the heart of Salvador/ Bahia/ Brazil. The small community has been often called "favela", but should be considered as a place of resistance and contra-culture, since more then 70 years now.
Vila Brandao is a green “island” in the center of a metropolis, a free access sea-spot with transparent water and still a few corals. Fishing, bird-breading and the use of local medical plants are part of daily culture. The peacefulness and the silence emphasize the rural character of Vila Brandão.
Founded on a muddy hillside in the 1940’s by Candomble Priest Seu Antonio, grown up through family extension and slow migration, in the 1980ties the community was reduced, through a real estate deal, from a thousand inhabitants to actual three hundred, most of them still united through parenthood. During the last 15 years, Salvador’s Bohème discovered the place, bringing in intellectuals and artists from all over the world. A very special melting pot…
But Vila Brandão has still the legal status of an "invasion". This means: the state does'nt care for the community. It is the effective exclusion from the world “up there” – the non access to urban infra-structure, to social services, to garbage collection, to security, to education!
In 2009, the major of Salvador, tried to desapropriate the community in order to build a sightseeing platform with a connected hotel complex, a project, where personal interests of his clan were involved! The community resisted - locally and with international support. The hotel-project was stopped. The case went to court - and is not decided yet!