Whether in the Pelourinho district or in more out-of-the-way parts of the capital of the State of Bahia and Brazil?s first capital, from 1548 to 1763, many artists are colouring the walls with frescoes inspired by Bahian culture, marked by its visceral attachment to Africa. Discover them in pictures.
These include images inspired by Candomblé, a curious blend of the African Yoruba rites of slaves brought to Brazil between the 16th and 19th centuries and the Christian beliefs of the Portuguese colonisers. These cults, which are increasingly practised today despite being banned by the Catholic Church and the dictatorship of the 1960s and 1970s, permeate the popular culture of graffiti artists and street artists, especially in Salvador de Bahia, which was one of the largest ports of disembarkation for slaves.
Orishas (or orixas), such as Yemanja the goddess of the sea, are displayed on the walls.
Another source of inspiration is Capoeira, a subtle blend of martial art and dance. Originating in Africa during slavery, capoeira is an integral part of Brazilian culture. It is a formidable fighting art that combines strength and beauty, grace and suppleness, speed and cunning.
Finally, there's the drink, particularly the cerveja, which flows freely on festival days and inspires some graffiti artists without confining them to a restricted universe.
Text and Photos: Brigitte Postel