The Cambridge University Brazilian Society (CUBS) is a society organized by Brazilian students at the University of Cambridge that aims:
- To bring and promote Brazilian culture, identity and perspectives at the University of Cambridge and in the city of Cambridge;
- To promote academic, social, cultural, and political initiatives always in agreement with the University’s mission and core values;
- To promote initiatives (e.g. talks, debates, seminars, etc.) related to Brazil that contribute to democratising spaces CUBS’s members access at the University of Cambridge so that they are accessible and open to contributions and collaborations from Brazilian scholars abroad and interested social groups and movements.
- To develop partnerships with Brazilian and British institutions;
- To welcome Brazilian newcomers to Cambridge by providing a space for students to flourish academically, socially, politically and culturally.
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Cambridge University Brazilian Society (CUBS) has a new look. Instead of a logo, we now have art. Instead of a coat of arms, like those of the traditional Cambridge Colleges, we represent our land of Brazil and our Indigenous people in artwork. Instead of a digital and vectorised image, we have the texture of the paint on the canvas. The new CUBS art transgresses by pushing the dominant limits. It was born as a recognition of who we are. It represents our commitment to decolonising spaces.
The art, created especially for CUBS by Ana Mendina, was designed in its colours and each of its elements to express who we are, in origin and tradition. It also fulfils our mission of making Brazilian culture present and apparent in this academic space, which is a global and historical reference in human and knowledge development.
At first glance, this art inspires us to think about the wheel of knowledge, which is constantly spinning. Like a boat helm, it drives us towards exploring new places, perspectives of life and conquests. Moved by the feathers of the blue macaw, we seek smooth but continuous and persistent turns. In this metaphor, knowledge is the feathered blade capable of turning this mechanism of wisdom. While the university provides the environment and creates the conditions for the construction of knowledge, it is the student who provides the impetus to turn the blade, transforming it and, in dialogue with the world, moving the mechanism of wisdom forward, making it virtuous and prosperous.
In this art, the colours are plural and diverse, as are the spaces we aim to promote. Green is our forests, our land, our nature. Yellow is the sun, white is equality, and the blue of the macaw’s feathers is wisdom and freedom. Red is our original peoples.
“I always said that Brazil is very red. Brazilians are red. Then came the other colours from other cultures that made us new Brazilians. But the Brazilians themselves, the people of the land, are painted with annatto. So, one of the first elements that I think of when I paint, which is missing from our Brazilian flag, is red. It is this recognition of the peoples of the land.” Ana Mendina
The black lines in the central circle are inspired by indigenous iconographies, which mark each Brazilian Indigenous people’s identity and culture. Taking care to inspire without appropriating, the CUBS art brings iconographic lines representing paths that congregate in a common circle, promoting reunion and communion.
As a way to challenge the idea of the traditional and imperialist coats of arms in their closed and limited forms, the CUBS art has blue macaw feathers that escape the borders of the image. They break imposed barriers and limits. In this sense, we refer to and exalt all subversive knowledge, capable of transforming and transcending limiting and often domineering conservatism.
The new CUBS art is a celebration and tribute to that Brazil that makes us proud. It is a way of representing who we are and what we bring when we arrive in Cambridge. It is the desire to leave as a legacy the reflections gained during the learning cycles built here.
In 2021, CUBS promoted a historic event at the University of Cambridge: the Paulo Freire statue envisioned by the Landless Workers Movement (MST - Brazil) was donated by the Cambridge University Brazilian Society to the Faculty of Education. It has become the first statue of a Brazilian at the University of Cambridge and a symbol of dialogue, tolerance and resistance. Read the full BBC article here.
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