Zebras in the City: Art & Capoeira in NYC

The creation of a banner representing a group or school is a significant undertaking. How does one create an image that encompasses hundreds of years of history, potential for the future, group history, group location, your native language (and some Portuguese if it is not your native tongue), an art form as rich and wide as capoeira (all those moves! all those instruments!), a bit of philosophy, plus perhaps an enthusiastic zebra or two?

Clearly, many decisions have to be made, but what you end up with should just about represent the essential of your group - its individual characteristics as well as its place within the larger community. Recently, FICA-NYC artists Duhirwe Rushemesa and Michael Loughlin developed a banner for their group. Group leader Njoli (who shares the responsibility with Puck) asked them to write a little about:

almost a year ago our two resident artists, Duhirwe Rushemesa and Michael Loughlin, designed a beautiful banner for the group and gave us all the opportunity to participate in its crafting. i asked them to do a short write up about the ideas and themes at work in the image and thought it would be nice to share with everyone.
thanks to you and to them,

FICA NY - Study Group Banner
A Brief Description of Its Themes by Michael Loughlin:

I believe the banner we created for fica ny is a call to arms, an image that lets people know that fica has arrived and wants to be heard in the great city of New York!

The iconic image of the empire state building is the center piece of the impressive new york skyline, hence it is used to symbolized that we are alive in the heart of this city. The fica logo is indeed iconic in its own right thus it is symbolized as being larger than the city for all to see and bring attention to the group that has established itself here.

The use of zebras in the foreground is to represent animals from the birth place of Capoeira Angola, Africa, and to demonstrate just how far the art has migrated. The zebras seem out of place yet blend into the city. The fica logo also shares the image of the zebra as if it were playing along with the capoerista. Thus it is an image that solidifies that we are all animals roaming this interesting city and planet.

The overall style was created to look loose and fluid. The buildings are not square and no line is truly straight, they are there yet transparent. The city is obviously new york yet it is done in a gestural style that gives it movement and life, not rigid and grounded. The stylized quality used is to mimic the beauty and fluidity found at the heart of capoeria.

The colors used in the banner are that of the typical colors used in Fica unifying our group with a global society that is interested in enriching the lives of many throught the spirit of dance and sing! The color blue is used as a mark of uniqueness, a slight touch of hand that signals a sense of life and artistic freedom to accent. The color is sharp and vibrant in hopes of catching the eye and enlivening the surrounding.

The banner was created to give a sense of pride and spirit to those who train, play and sing in front of it. To establish a voice and pay homage to the art and beauty of Capoeira!

Many thanks to Duhirwe and Michael for their artwork, and to Njoli for passing it along. I have noticed over the years that Njoli really challenges his group with exercises like this - beyond just learning the movements and the music - that require reflection upon your growth as an individual within capoeira as well as your place in the capoeira community. That's really cool.

What does your logo, banner, or even group name say about you and your school? Its something interesting to consider.

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