Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – The Arab coffee will be the theme of an exhibition at the Coffee Museum in Santos, São Paulo. The show “Arab Coffee, a symbol of generosity” will open on November 28 at 6 pm. The event is open to the public. The museum operates at Bolsa do Café’s old building.
It’s known that the Arabs consume coffee since the 15th century. They turned it into a commercial product and a social beverage that became part of the culture and daily life around the world. Divided in three modules, the show addresses the introduction of coffee into the Arab world and its dissemination to other territories, including a historic-geographical contextualization using maps, in its first part.
In the second part of the exhibition, the curators address the Arab immigration in Brazil and their traditions with testimonies from Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians that have migrated to the country from 1970 to date.
The inscription as an intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the theme of the show’s third module. There, visitors may see objects brought from the Coffee Museum in Dubai, learn the techniques used to extract the beverage and the right etiquette for serving it – in some Arab countries, it’s common that the coffee be prepared in front of the guests.
The exhibition will also feature visual elements and settings similar to majlis (loosely translated as “places to seat”), rooms where Arab coffee is traditionally served, where people use to seat on upholsteries on the floor, carpets or sofas around low coffee table. There, people use to gather to discuss local and political issues, events or entertaining guests.
Coffee Museum executive director Alessandra Almeida was quoted as saying in a press release that the museum always try to work with different themes and perspectives in its temporary exhibitions, and that this kind of shows allows for exploring some specific segments of the coffee.
“The exhibition ‘Arab Coffee, A symbol of generosity’ was born from a desire to take a very rich aspect of this trajectory to the public, which is the Arab culture around the consumption of the beverage. By bringing together testimonies, the collection of the Coffee Museum in Dubai, maps and other special resources, such as the settings replicating the spaces where coffee is consumed in the region, we hope the visitor may truly experience the Arab culture and gain a deeper understanding through an immersive experience,” Almeida said.
“The exhibition was built with the purpose of showcasing the coffee as a cultural heritage that crosses borders, carrying social relationships that are symbolically similar to Brazil’s. The goal is creating an immersive experience to the public, so that they can experience the spaces and get to know the preparation tools related to this intangible heritage, together with testimonies by people that, despite living in another country, still keep athis tradition,” the museum’s technical coordinator Marcela Rezek was quoted as saying in the press release.
Admission is free on the opening day and on Saturdays. On the other days, the admission fee ranges from BRL 5-10 (USD 1-3). The museum doesn’t open on Mondays. The show’s end date is yet to be defined, but the museum coordination reported that temporary exhibitions usually run for 6 months to a year, according to the audience’s reaction.
Exhibition “Arab coffe, a symbol of generosity”
As from November 28 at 6 pm
Rua XV de Novembro, 95
Centro Histórico – Santos/SP
Translated by Guilherme Miranda