Baianas do acarajé and trenzadoras: Black Women in Salvador Bahia, Brazil
“Eu naci ahi (Pelourinho). Mi mama vendio 50 anios ahi, eu tenho 56 anos hace mas de cuarenta"
“I was born here (Pelourinho). My mom sold (acarajé) for 50 years here, I am 56 years old, and I have been working here for more than forty years"
This project collects the narratives of Afro-Brazilian women working in the historical and touristic district of the Pelourinho in Salvador Bahia. Known as baianas do acarajé, these women work in the streets of Bahia selling a specific type of food, the acarajé, a fried and steamed bean cake characteristic of the Candomble religion. The selling of the acarajé by the baianas was recognized in 2004 as an immaterial national treasure by the IPHAN (The National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute). However, in spite of this recognition, and of the importance and significance that the baianas do acarajé have in Brazilian society, there are almost no written accounts in which the actual voices of these women are being heard.
"Voices from Our America: Black Women in Salvador Bahia, Brazil seeks to address this concern by capturing the experiences of the Baianas do acarajé, along with the trenzaderas, who also work in the streets of the historical area of the Pelourinho braiding hair, in their own words. These women were of particular interest to me because as women of color working independently, they challenge many of the hegemonic notions of gender, race, religion, and national identity that dominate Brazilian society.
-Written by Karin Davidovich, November 2014