More than 320 km away from Rio (almost 200 miles), a world-class collection of contemporary art shares a 140 hectares plot of land with chunks of native Atlantic forest and landscaped gardens. This is Inhotim (een-yo-TCHEEN), a surprising open-air museum carved in the mountains of Brazil’s countryside. A spectacle for the eyes and the soul.
Inhotim opened its doors in 2006 and was a somehow unexpected hit, receiving so far more than three million visitors and having a high impact on the local economy. But it also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons more recently, when a tailing dam collapse at the nearby city of Brumadinho. The mud released by the catastrophic failure killed 230 people and had a huge impact on the life of Inhotim's staff. Visitors also vanished and left the museum in a stall.
A Phoenix Moment
Inhotim has picked itself up and now it wants to get back on its successful track. They also hope to be part of the solution, using their creative power to bring more visitors in, while generating jobs and opportunities for the whole area affected by the Brumadinho environmental disaster.
For this, they already installed a new Robert Irwin's majestic piece, and restaured ome pieces, like Tunga’s "True Rouge", "De lama lâmina" by Matthew Barney and "Narcissus Garden Inhotim", a creation by Yayoi Kusama. But the brighter star among the novelties is for sure a 32,000 sq meter garden named Sombra e Água Fresca (something that can be translated as "shade and freshwater").
It took ten years for Pedro Nehring, Inhotim's chief-garden designer, to build up this paradise, which has just been opened to visitors. The area is covered by more than 700 species of plants, including some 80 fruit trees offering lychees, mangoes, jabuticabas and bananas that can be picked and savoured by visitors. The new garden is also a reminder that Inhotim is more than an art gallery – it's a delightful botanical garden.
Extravagant and unforgettable
In total, there are more than 1,300 works of art by 60 artists from 38 countries spread around Inhotim's land. Because of this, it's highly recommended to stick around for at least two days to fully enjoy its 23 galleries. Better also to bring your swimming suit with you because they let visitors cool down in the transparent waters of Jorge Macchi's art installation. And there is no other place in the world where you can do something extravagant and unforgettable like this.
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