Last year was challenging for every artist in the whole world, but nothing can stop creative minds.
Different kinds of art can be found everywhere. These artists have a lot to tell and inspire us through their art. These gorgeous people with Brazilian roots opened their hearts and shared with us in their own words their personal history - how Berlin became their home, how their artistic career started, their passion in life, how they show the world their Latin background, their projects etc. All these questions and more will be found in this article.
I came to Berlin in 2018 because of the cultural vibrancy, the queer, artistic and creative atmosphere and the nightlife.
I'm a Brazilian multi-artist. I'm an actor, model, writer and drag performer.
I'm genderfluid and use they/them pronouns in English, elu/delu in Portuguese, elle/delle in Spanish, and no pronouns in German.
I'm a sensitive and emotional pisces and I translate a lot of my thoughts and feelings through different kinds of art, as the academic world seems too limited for me (I have a Bachelor in International Relations).
My drag persona is Lilith the Quing (a quing is a nonbinary queen/king) and I'm a part of the drag collective Venus Boys.
Lilith the Quing, the genderless contrasexual shapeshifter spacebender dreamdrifter is bringing fluidity and consciousness to this and other worlds. A quing with many personalities around the gender spectrum and all of them love to criticize toxic masculinity and celebrate queerness. Lilith is chaos with a touch of drama, camp, and provocative and a pinch of a fairy tale, astrology, and magick.
I started doing drag here in Berlin, about a year ago. Drag was the way I found to merge and integrate all my passions together: art, queerness, gender (bending), music, politics, performance, dance, fashion, acting, crafting, writing and so much more.
Acting and writing are things I'm doing since I understand myself as a person, I grew up in the countryside of Minas Gerais, surrounded by nature and my mom is an artist who always incentivized me to express myself artistically. As for modeling, I started it in Rio, around 8 years ago.
Art and creating community and connection are the things that drive me and make me get out of bed in the afternoon (I’m not a morning person haha).
I identify deeply with Latin America, it shows in my personality and I try to bring my roots into my work, with music and dance, but more abstractly sometimes, and also by bringing political messages, but would love to express it even more in the future (if corona allows us).
Hello, I’m Julia Obst, which means Fruit in German actually, I’m 20 years old, I’m an actress, director, and producer. I started to work as an actress very young, I got cast on German TV in a soap opera called “Die Fallers” when I was eleven. Is a family series about a family that lives in the Black Forest (south of Germany) and they are farmers, I'm the adopted daughter called Jenny and I'm still working on it, so I've been working as an actress for almost 17 years besides this show I have been working on independent projects here in Berlin, for short films mostly, I also work as a director, my first work was a music video for an artist called “Ocean and the waves” she is also a good friend of mine, we got a review by the London music video festival in 2019, and my last work as a director was a short film was aquaria that were showed in Leo Kuelbs collection who is an American curator, presented as part of Light Year 71: Digital Fairy Tales: Wassermärchen, showed on the Manhattan Bridge in New York, also that film was running at festivals.
I also work as a curator, I had an online exhibition called "Symbolism Reloaded”; presented by Leo Kuelbs.
About my ethnic background, my dad is German and my mom is Brazilian I was born and raised in a place called Baden Baden in the south of Germany, the Black Forest. But my whole family from my mother's side are still living in Brazil and I speak Portuguese fluently, I have been in Brazil many times in constant touch with my cousins and family.
I came to Berlin because I always wanted to live in a big city, I have been living for almost 5 years, also because I moved for obvious reasons, Berlin has developed as one of the art capitals of the world, there are so many things going on and so many creative people are living here, you can get inspired every day, after living here I can say that I became more confident with myself being an artist and working in this career, I feel very comfortable and happy, I love to live in Berlin.
When I was a kid I always loved to be on stage, I started to take ballet lessons when I was 3 years old, I participated in talent shows, it was obvious that I wanted to do something with performance, I dreamed more of becoming a pop star than to be an actress. Then because of a coincidence, I was invited to an audition for the show in which I’m still working. I remember that I thought “ok I can try”, there were many kids from all over Germany in this audition but I got the role, so I think I became an actress because of destiny, also I think that my mom kind of prepare me to be an actress because at a very early age she trained my brain to memorize poems and texts so I’m actually very grateful for that because I’m really fast in memorizing my lines, also when I was a teenager I took singing lessons.
My passion is really my work, I love acting, I love creating different characters, I’m very grateful to be giving the chance to play this character for so long because I could really develop it from the beginning and grow up with this character (Jenny, Die Fallers) whenever I work in independent projects I’m looking for challenging roles, for interesting stories, and I just love performing, I also love music, I love dancing, I love singing, and because of lockdown, I started again to sing, mostly in Portuguese like bossa nova and samba.
I love art and get inspired by art, and also I’m a very spiritual person so I really believe in the power of our thoughts, so I try to be positive no matter how bad things look around me.
I’m also very passionate about feminism, I’ve been working as a volunteer for an NGO called Feminist foreign policy on social media, between 2018 and 2019, unfortunately, I couldn’t do it anymore because I got busy with shooting and all my other projects.
In my case with this world pandemic situation, I’m still able to work, we get tested every day we shoot, we have high hygienic regulations on set, at the beginning, it was a little bit strange to have all these rules and regulations because we know each other since very long and we are quite close, but I can not complain because I’m still able to work and have this kind of normality in my life otherwise I would have gone insane; during the first lockdown I did some online courses about art history, I was reading a lot, basically to keep myself busy with things that I love, things that I wanted to learn about.
I think how I express my Brazilian roots is most of all through music, as I said before I’m singing again, and I’m working together with a Brazilian musician called Felippe Guzmaõ, who is a really a great musician he is a guitar player, I sing in Portuguese because whenever I sing in that language I feel so connected with my Brazilian roots, I love to do it, and furthermore, I really want to be more involved in international projects or collaborative projects between Brazil and Germany, that’s why I’m in touch with my Brazilian cousin to organize an online exhibition with 50 % Brazilian and 50 % German artists, recently I have been in touch with a Brazilian film producer who is working in a documentary about the different indigenous languages in Brazil, I really would love to be more involved with Brazilian projects.
My main job is acting and it is also my passion. I also work as an assistant director and illustrator, those are the 3 types of art that I do, I was born and grew up in Brazil. I was also working as an actress in Brazil before coming to Berlin. I’m very happy now because it was not easy. Unless you are a really famous actor/actress it is hard to make it in this business and even when it happens I don’t think an artist can just do one art form, for example I also sing and think about directing. I’m an artist.
I didn’t choose Berlin, Berlin chose me. It was not in my plans to move to Germany or to move to Europe, I was happy in Brazil, I was living my life, then I met a German guy and we had a long distance relationship. We managed to see each other very frequently, because I
have European citizenship (I’m half Brazilian, half Portuguese, my dad is from Portugal that’s why I have Portuguese citizenship), so because of that I decided to give the relationship a try.
I came once as a tourist for one month to see if I liked the city. And I enjoyed it very much,
this city is very artistic, open minded and a mixture of cultures coming together. I moved in the middle of 2016 because I loved the city, and after almost two years the relationship was over and many people asked me what I wanted to do, if I wanted to come back to Brazil. But by then I had already started to work here as an assistant director for 2 different theater groups and l was enjoying my life very much. I had made friends and loved the rhythm of the city, so I decided to stay here and made Berlin my home.
I was always a very artistic child, I loved to draw, both my parents are doctors and they never invested in me artistically speaking. My dad has even apologized because he saw it in me but he didn’t think that was a good path for my life. They wanted me to study law, or engineering, but I managed to study graphic design , because as a child I grew up with Disney and my dream was to be an illustrator for Disney studios. My dad agreed because in Brazil the course is literally called "industrial design" so he was ok with that. But I soon realized that it was not my passion. I asked my dad if he could pay for a voice acting course, but he didn’t want me to become an actress. I finished my degree and with my first paycheck I enrolled myself in an acting and a singing course. This combined took me to another level
because I started auditioning for musicals and then I was working mainly for children's
musicals. This was my main source of work in Brazil. Parallel to that I was working as an assistant director for a musical theater course in an acting school in Rio. The course was focused on teenagers and young adults. I also had my own musical theater comedy group in which we were 5 girls doing comedy shows.
And the illustration dream I always had in the background because I never stopped graphic design and I pushed more to illustration. Actually last year when corona hit the first time and I didn’t have a job I started to invest more time on digital illustration and now I work with it.
What drives me in life is telling stories and that for me summarizes everything, even when I’m drawing. I remember when I was a child whenever I was drawing something there was always a story behind it, and when I’m on stage the most important for me is to tell a story, and be creative too.
Acting for me is very interesting because as human beings we have dynamics and feelings. Everything regarding human beings is interesting to me. Since I moved to Berlin I kind of went away from musical theater and I’m more engaged with being a bit more political. I still do a lot of children's theater, but I’m thinking of writing my own project to make people think about the world and about themselves. I don’t want to just do entertainment, I want to move people and be moved by them.
Until I left Brazil I never thought of myself as the classic Brazilian in the stereotypical way. But now that I’m in Europe I feel like I’m more Brazilian somehow because I see the cultural differences. I also realized that I was very privileged in Brazil. There I’m perceived as a white person. As a child, I only had blond barbies and I was watching Disney films in which there are lots of blond characters. Nowadays I try to have more awareness and, for example, with my illustrations, I try to also draw black women and different shapes and bodies even though this is new for me.
I was in a play before Corona hit called Safestay Hostel for teenagers and young adults and we had to write the story based on our biographies. Since the elections in Brazil in 2018 it is a very important matter for me to speak up and protest against Bolsonaro and his
government. That is present in the play. We also talk a lot about being an activist and checking privileges. I think my fight is for equality. The way I look makes me stand out here in Germany because you can obviously see that I’m not german. The way I walk, the way I move my body, the way I speak when I act in German with an accent. So it is obvious that I’m not from here. The way I am already says something about my roots and I wish to bring awareness about xenophobia and discrimination. Those are the fights I’m engaged with and that I try to bring into my art.
My name is Zero Pilnik and my pronouns are daddy/daddy’s. I'm an actor, writer, and storyteller who sometimes plays the accordion (poorly) and sings (off-key). I was born and raised in the concrete jungles of São Paulo, Brazil. I dreamt of being a rockstar, but there aren't a lot of rock bands out there looking for accordion players. So, instead, I began to dress up and paint a mustache on my face and perform in the best queer bars of Berlin under the alias of Mojo, the Sword Swallower of Switzerland – a gang member of the Drag performance collective Venus Boys.
Before that, however, I went to a fancy-pants Acting school, which taught me to recite Shakespeare, but didn't teach me that people in the art world would always see me as the 'other'. I decided that if no one was going to make space for me, I would create my own. I began writing plays with characters who were not only white, cis, and heteronormative and starred in some of them. Most recently, I got support from the Fonds Darstellende Künste, to live out my rockstar dreams in a solo performance called 27 Club – a quarter-life crisis rock'n'roll concert imagining my funeral as a failed artist at 27 years old.
I'm also developing my first-ever concept for a TV series, a dystopic queer Spaghetti Western revenge tale. I will be in residency at Goyki3 in Poland later this year to write the pilot of the series.
I came to Berlin because I wanted to walk the streets alone at night without fear. Aside from being massively machista, Brazil is the country that kills the most trans people in the world. As a trans-identifying AFAB person, I have always felt unsafe in my home country. However, it's always been important to me to not only survive but to actually live, breathe. I need to be close to nature, but because of my chosen career, I can't be too far from metropolitan areas either (if I could, I would live on a farm!). So, Berlin seemed like a promised land: a queer-friendly place, which is surrounded by great lakes and green areas, is bursting with culture, and has policies in place that allow artists to do art for a living.
These are the practical and rational reasons...on the spiritual side, the answer gets a little more complex. I'm the descendant of Holocaust survivors who spent their lives in Berlin. They always loved this city, even after they were forced to leave. When I was in my early teens, grew an interest in the art made in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. I was especially fascinated with the cabarets, in which artists used humorous songs and satirical plays to make strong political statements. This kind of acid humor, which came from Jewish creators such as Friedrich Hollaender and Kurt Weill, is still a very intrinsic part of my work. Maybe it's some kind of nostalgia for a time of sexual liberation and freedom of expression, maybe it's a wish to reclaim something that was supposed to be mine, but I always dreamed of moving to Berlin. And it always had a special place in my heart.
My mother was a ballerina and my grandmother is a pianist, so I've been on the stage my whole life, even before I could walk properly. Sounds silly to say, but I honestly never even though I had the option to be something other than an artist. I was a kid when I started going to an after-school theater class and fell in love with performing. I knew from that moment on that this is what I wanted to do forever. Being on the stage is the only place where I feel 100% present. I'm never worried about what happened yesterday or what I have to do tomorrow. I'm never thinking. I'm just there, fully present.
I'm now trying to move from theater into film and TV, which seem like better mediums for my desire to connect and tell stories to people all around the globe. Theater, especially in Europe, can be quite an elitist and inaccessible art. This is also why I adore doing cabaret and Drag performances – I can actually look into people's eyes and interact with them. They clap if they like it, they boo if they don't, they scream and snap if they love it. Film and TV don't have that, but, especially within pop culture, it's way more accessible.
I grew up around the (capitalist?) idea that one needs to have a purpose, a goal, otherwise life has no meaning. I don't really have an answer for what that is for me and am starting to think that the purpose of my life is just...to live. I just want to be a good person, to live by my ethics and morals, and never do something I'm against just because of the money, for example. I want the people that I love and care about to always be safe and live their happiest lives, even if I have to make some sacrifices to make that happen.
I suppose I'm driven by connection. I see myself as a joker, a fool, someone who is always wandering the Earth and meeting different people and trying to see the humanity in everyone, even people who are extremely different from me.
As a performer and writer – and hopefully soon, TV creator! – I'm always mindful of the representation of Latinx people on the stage and screen. I'm deeply committed to creating three-dimensional characters that don't fall under the Hollywood stereotypes of what Latinxs are. I think even the concept of "Latin American culture" is sometimes not quite right, because we are so many cultures with so many specificities and stories, that I could never claim to be the ambassador of. Also on the topic of stereotypes, I've worked quite a lot with this idea of the "idyllic Brazil" (the image gringos have of Brazil through films and pop culture), both in theater and in Drag. This research led to Banana Pride™ – an original show I created in collaboration with feminist comedic collective Aba Naia. The show premiered as part of English Theatre Berlin's 2019 Expo Festival.
Aside from these examples, I'm a firm believer that my mere presence on the stage is already celebrating my Latin American roots, as well as my queerness and my Jewishness. Regardless of whether my pieces address Latinidad directly, my culture is always present, no matter what. It's in the way that I sing, in the twists of my accent, in my care for my colleagues, in my warmth. I feel extremely Brazilian every day of my life and, despite the weight that comes with that, I wouldn't want to have been born anywhere else.
I’m a trained actress I started to act when I was 10 years old, I worked in theaters and short movies, and a few participations in soap operas in Brazil, basically my entire life has been on stage or producing where I was working in, I’m also a creative producer.
In this times in which we are now I think the artists are kind of obligated to find new skills and new ways to communicate with the audience but this way of thinking happened to me even before covid, because of the language barrier.
What drives me in life is to create, I’m a person that loves to create, I’m learning more and more about creativity and understanding the creative process.
I came to Berlin in December 2017, I was working with a theater in Brazil and I had the privilege to work with different directors and one of the directors with who I worked asked me to do this project in a specific play that coincidentally was also played in Berlin in the schaubüne theater, then a director called Thomas Ostermeier did a workshop in Brazil I was knowing him and we had a good exchange, he kindly invited me to come to Berlin and I received a scholarship from DAAD to study in the Goethe institute that’s how I started to learn German, and I did an assistant director internship at this theater for 3 months , after that I decided to stay here because the life for an artist in Brazil since Bolsonaro was getting harder, so I thought I have nothing to loose I could spend some time in Europe, So I sold everything that I had in Rio, I’m from south of Brazil originally, but I was studying and working there for 11years. I thought well I think Berlin is literally calling me with this opportunity and this scholarship, I never thought about learning German, even when I come from an area of Brazil that was colonized by Germans and Italians so I knew apfelstrudel and schnitzel all this connections between but I never thought about living in Germany.
Then when I finished the German courses I started to focus in my own projects which was the plan to apply for a masters program and then came covid.
What I’m doing at the moment since last year in September, we combine forces with a Brazilian film producer to apply our own projects to open calls (Forderung), the idea is to bring to life the adapt kind of covid versions for different projects, we have a Brazilian play about the dictatorship in Brazil and is about the life of a Brazilian exiled woman in Uruguay, another project that we have is a community of Brazilian Artists created in October of 2020 called Cena Berlim that works over WhatsApp in which we have around 115 people, to help each other, to share open calls, to share jobs, and I had this idea because I’m the crazy with the open calls, I liked to share them with my artist friends, and I realized that I want to be more connected with female artists and Brazilian artists, we have a queer community also, and we will start like Ted talks and workshops, this is my social project in which there’s no money involved at the moment or services, I’m engaging with help people and to be help by others because being an immigrant is not an easy job.
I’m also developing another project in the Udk Berlin career college called “Artist Training” for artistic collectives in exile, that was supposed to be presented last year in May in Karneval der Kulturen but was canceled because of covid situation, the project is a collective that is up to create flashmob around Berlin and Germany regarding artist immigrants and exiled, that should happen hopefully in August of this year.