Page layout of the next episode of YVY.
Page layout of the next episode of YVY.
The Third story of YVY begins to take shape. Releasing sketch from one of the pages. You can see Eva and Odara together, what are they doing together?
Odara first appeared in the series in a flashback of Eva, in episode 1, presenting Eve with the powerful Sword of Iansã. What do you know about this character? So far, it is of Yoruba origin, by reference to the orixá Iansan, and that she was in Quilombo dos Palmares.
After formulating the character, based on the movie Quilombo, by Cacá Diegues, and posted the first full episode on the site, I discovered that most of the residents of Quilombo dos Palmares were blacks of Bantu origin, not Yoruba. The very word quilombo would be of Bantu origin. Here is the reference to the historical deception in the series.
Will Odara appear again? Wait.
Why are the native peoples of the American continent, who lived there before the arrival of Europeans, called Indians? Is this a suitable term to designate a whole population that inhabited (still inhabits) a portion of land that goes from the north of Canada to the south of Patagonia? Is this a suitable term for societies with lifestyles as diverse as hunter-gatherers in the forests of the Atlantic coast or merchants of the great Aztec cities? Maybe we should ask ourselves these questions.
The initial error
Many of us know the story of the arrival of the navigator Christopher Columbus to the lands that he believed to be the Indies (that was the whole region of South Asia). Columbus, on behalf of the Spanish crown, went out to sea in search of a new route to this important center of world trade of the time. Based on the calculations of the Greek thinker Ptolemy, he believed that China’s coasts would be much closer to Europe than they really are. Ptolemy had done his calculations in the first centuries of the Christian era, so they were not very accurate. In any case, this false notion of proximity encouraged the adventure of the Genoese navigator.
All Europe believed, like Columbus, that the lands he had landed in 1492 were, in fact, the Indies. They would, in his judgment, be an eastern canton lost from the Asian continent. Inhabited by a primitive people, called, from then on, by the Europeans, of Indians. This version lasted until the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci, through his travels, discovered that portion of land, a new continent. Which earned a name inspired by this European explorer.
Us who, pale-faced?
According to the work of Professor Mario Maestri, Os Senhores do Litoral, where the European adventure in America and the scourge of the American people are narrated and analyzed, the names that the populations of the Brazilian coast of then used to refer to themselves were extremely various: tupinambás, tupiniquins, caetés, etc. But even though Europeans considered naming and individualizing civilized societies themselves, they had no problem in reducing a whole complex universe of cultures and languages in a single word, “Indians.”
Later, this designation was gaining contours of another order. More than defining the native inhabitants of the new continent discovered, it came to represent a stereotype. It was used when referring to backward, lazy, wild, etc. For the Portuguese, it would become synonymous with slave, as well as the word “negro”. Thus, there were the “negros da terra” (Americans) and the “negros da guiné” (Africans), but one could also use the terms “índios da terra” or “índios da guiné.” That is, people destined by nature for slave labor.
An error older than 500 years
Wrong or not, to this day, the word “Indian” is used. With distinct meanings, it is true, according to the degree of sympathy of the people towards the survivors of the Native Americans and their struggle to continue existing. Even these populations often end up using this old term to talk about themselves. Perhaps, to make themselves understood better in the face of white civilization.
Either way, the YVY reader will not come across Eva or her countrymen, using the term “Indian.” They are Guarani, although within that term there are also their nuances. Subject to another post.
Another YVY character, Father Juan Diego, had a brief appearance in episode 1. The unusual priest came to the reduction to investigate the case of the cattle that appeared dead. Descendant of the Nahuat people of Mexico, he has ideas about the universe that clash somewhat with what the Catholic church thinks, so he is willing to investigate a problem from more than one point of view.
This character was inspired by a true Juan Diego. This is the Mexican mestizo who witnessed the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the 16th century. Setting up an interesting case of Catholic and “pagan” syncretism.
Father Juan Diego disappeared in episode 1, will he come back?
Another important character of YVY is Father Antonio, the administrator of the fictional reduction of our series. Like all the Jesuits of the Cia de Jesus, our quiet priest is versed in many languages and knowledgeable of the most diverse arts and fields of knowledge, from music, metallurgy, architecture, astronomy, sculpture and medicine.
In an excerpt from the first episode, Father Antonio reveals that his home land would be Tyrol, a region between northern Italy and southern Austria. This character is directly inspired by another Father Antonio, the true one, already quoted here in the blog. Why would anyone leave the interior of Europe to cross the Atlantic and go into the heart of colonial America? Who knows? Keep following the series!
Whoever accompanies the YVY series has already met Eva, our protagonist. Eva is a Guarani girl who grew up in reduction, having a Christian education, being closely supervised by the Jesuit responsible for the mission, Father Antonio. Disappointed by the obligatory sending of her beloved to serve the Spanish crown in the war, she leaves the life in the reduction and goes in the woods to find her grandfather, the old Moreyra, an old sorcerer who lives alone in the forest.
The look of the character tries to represent this break with the European world, so she does not wear the traditional dress of raw cotton, clothing common in the Jesuit-Guarani reductions. Instead, she wears a leather skirt, also common, but lends a less Christian appearance to the character. The other accessories, bracelets and knee pads come in the same way, giving a more “cover and sword” air to our protagonist. Lastly, the bandage used by the inhabitants of the pampas to tie their hair when riding and their foal boots on their feet, which, for our Eve, won a different design.
In order to make the connection with her Guarani heritage, we added a painting on her face, which, according to an anthropologist, is the same one used by the women of this town. Despite its break with the European way of life, it still maintains a connection with its past in the reduction. is the semi-crucifix that she carries on her neck. Follow the series and you will discover why you lack an arm to the cross, you will also discover the origin of the sword she carries, the Sword of Iansã.
The YVY series is based on the Jesuit missions in the Southern of America. For this reason, the work of research for his production bent a little on the history of those who were considered the soldiers of Christ, the Jesuits of the Cia de Jesus. That is why, it is necessary to quote the film Silêncio, of the director Martin Scorcese, like one of the materials researched.
I had already learned of the adventure and martyrdom of the Jesuit priests in distant Japan when he read the book Viagem às Missões Jesuíticas e Trabalhos Apostólicos, another reference used in the YVY series. So the film caught my eye when it was released in Brazil in 2017. This is not the most acclaimed film of the famous director, but has the merit of raising strong questions about faith and religion and, especially, about the importance, or not, to take this work of converting others to their religion.
In it, we are horrified at the brutality with which the seventeenth-century Japanese shogunate treated those who tried to bring foreign influence to their lands. The protagonist of the film, the Portuguese priest Sebastião Rodrigues, played by Andrew Garfield, finds himself experiencing the same difficulties that the clandestine primitive Christians spent during much of the Roman empire, having to flee and hide, facing various tortures and martyrdoms. The silence, in this case the title of the film, may relate to how Japanese Christians should live to escape persecution. In silence. But silence will manifest itself in the film in many ways, the viewer who makes his assessment.
It is well to remember that violence in the name of religion was also widely practiced by Christians, not only in the Middle Ages or in the Crusades. The Holy Inquisition says so.
Anyway, the history of the Jesuits in Japan ended up inspiring a character in the YVY series, you will meet him in the third episode, in production stage. Wait!
In previous post I commented on how some historical periods were or are used in the constitution of entertainment products. I mean, those related to media, movies, comics or literature. In this sense, we have series and works stuffed with samurais, vikings, knights, cowboys, etc.
YVY is a series that wants to explore the colonial era of the American continent for this purpose. Its action takes place during an uncertain period, between the end of century XVII and beginning of XVIII. While we thought and developed our idea, we got in touch with works that had already searched for the same line. One of them is The Elephant and the Macaw Banner.
Written by Christopher Kastensmidt, the universe of The Elephant and Arara Banner is based on an unusual pair, Gerard Van Oost and Oludara, a Dutchman and an African of Yoruba origin, who form a flag of two individuals, and they live fantastic adventures in the jungles and cities of colonial Brazil, meeting and / or facing mystical creatures of Brazilian folklore.
The series is found in the form of literature, comics and RPG and is an excellent way to know elements of Brazilian history and culture, as you can see the exquisite research work done in its elaboration. Having already been used in reading projects in some schools in Porto Alegre, a city in the south.
The nationality of its creator (he is from USA) does not seem to interfere in any way in the construction of the representation of the life of the inhabitants of colonial Brazil, just as the creators of Tex also were not of the USA. Scenarios and interesting figures exist all over the world and out of it, just a distinct look and creativity.