Leonardo Coelho

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Location: Rio de Janeiro
Nationality: Brasil
Biography: Journalist and Photographer, I tell stories that are embedded in my mind and heart. My eyes, ears and hands do the rest, while my mouth serves just to show the world what is happening. Based in Rio, I have been working in journalism since 2013.... read on
Public Project
Conspire originally meant "to breathe together". In Brazil, specially in Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the olympic games 2016, this verb has a subtle undertone. I started covering the 2013 protests in Rio as they erupted, during the Confederations Cup, and saw its development until middle 2014, at the verge of the World Cup. Brazil has been, for almost its entire history, an extremely bigoted and socially excludent country. it was not, however, a country of violent political clashes, of direct confrontation. It´s violence was almost always in the background.

The recent changes in Brazil, caused in part by a mixture of globalization, high economical growth - and now in fallout - and a more workers friendly government, spearheaded by PT in the last 13 years, led to the development of a historical crack in the once homogenous and class rooted societal sphere. The country where the tradition was to arrange its problems in the backstage with traditional players was suddenly forced to go to the streets once more, yet divided.

In this almost theatrical environment I saw conspiracy theories blossoming, rich with difused claims and ambiguous understandings of "truth" and "lies", "heroes" and "villains". Some say there is a Coup D´etat happening in Brazil, while some swear that Dilma´s government is communist, ready to implement the Communist Manifesto while instituting "The International" as the new national hymn.

Yet, in the background of all of this political bubble emerged a plethora of characters and people from all kinds of lives that try to cope with Brazil´s every day problems and get their voices heard. Be it the indigenous people, dealing with a system that treats them as souvenirs and a mere curiosity, or brazilian women as a whole, since most are afraid of violence against them.

Last but not least, there are the poor, mostly black, almost certain young, men that kill and die every day in Brazil due to systemic violence. Almost symbiotic, the supporting roles they play - Police and thiefs - are almost non-important in the grand scheme of this 21st century brazilian soap-opera. After all, the show must go on, and the crowd conspire in order to maintain the spectacle, not realizing they are, as well, playing a part.


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