Statue of João Cândido

The life-size bronze statue of João Cândido Felisberto was erected to honour the man who became known as the “Black Admiral” for his deeds during the Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Lash) in 1910. 

Estátua de João Cândido revitalizada e realocada na Praça Marechal Âncora.

The monument, created by the artist Walter Brito, was originally installed at the Catete Museum and was later moved to Praça XV square in 2008, following the approval of an amnesty for João Cândido and other sailors who took part in the movement in 1910. This decree was proposed by then-senator, Marina Silva under Law 11.756/2008. Ever since the idea of creating the statue had been conceived, this location had been proposed for the monument because of its proximity to the sea and the military complex on Ilha das Cobras island, where João Cândido was detained after the rebellion was subdued.

João Cândido (à direita) lê o manifesto dos revoltosos. Wikimedia Commons

Construction work on the Light Rail system and the installation of a station at the Praça XV square in 2017 made the monument less visible and it was only in November 2022, after careful restoration, that is was moved once again, this time to the nearby Praça Marechal Âncora square.

A estátua que representa João Cândido agora fica de frente para o mar. À sua frente, na foto, o restaurante Ancoramar.

Decades after the Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Lash), João Cândido remained relatively unrecognized for his role in combating the harsh working conditions and physical punishments inflicted on low-ranking sailors who were mostly black men. These conditions were reminiscent of treatment during slavery which had recently been abolished. For a long time, because he was black and impoverished and had rebelled against the state, both the Revolta da Chibata and the figure of João Cândido received little acknowledgment in Brazil’s official history. However, in recent decades, there has been an effort to restore his image and emphasize the significance of the movement in the country’s history. This kind of questioning of narratives is a response to the need for different perspectives of history, social justice, and historical figures, especially those involved in resistance movements, to be represented. The ongoing discussions around João Cândido’s legacy underscore the complexities surrounding the shaping of historical narratives that embrace diverse experiences and points of view.  

Homenagem em vida: João Cândido e seu filho durante embarque para Porto Alegre, a fim de receber homenagens do governador Leonel Brizola, anos 1960. Arquivo Nacional – Fundo Correio da Manhã

This tribute to João Cândido is recognition of his leadership in the struggle for better working conditions and dignity for black sailors at that time. Furthermore, it signifies his importance in the fight against racism in Brazil. The statue symbolises resistance and the fight for human rights and is particularly meaningful to the black community, which has historically faced structural racism which is ingrained in Brazilian society.

Seu Candinho, filho de João Cândido, na reinauguração da estátua do pai, em novembro de 2022. Foto: Beth Santos/Prefeitura do Rio


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