I recently had the opportunity to visit the beautiful state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, best known for its renowned World Cultural Heritage Sites of Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Congonhas, but also for its heritage of architecture and colonial art in historical cities such as São João del-Rei, Tiradentes and Mariana.
Easily reached by flying into the capital of Belo Horizonte (direct flights are available from, among others, Miami and Rio de Janeiro), it offers something to everyone: Culture, History, Art, Gastronomy & Nature!
While most everyone is familiar with Ouro Preto, the first Brazilian City and one of the first in the world to be declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, and Congonhas, and its Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Matosinhos, sculpted by the famous Aleijadinho, a lesser known attraction that is not to be missed is Inhotim.
If you are interested in exploring Minas Gerais, check out our Rio de Janeiro & the Route of Gold Tour.
Inhotim (pronounced “In-ho-tcheem”, which means “Mr. Tim” and was named after the man who used to farm the land the museum now occupies), is a contemporary art museum within an extraordinary botanical garden. It was founded by former mining magnate Bernardo Paz and is located in Brumadinho, 56 KM/34.8 Miles from Belo Horizonte. It focuses on works produced from the 1960s on.
It is acknowledged as one of the main art destinations in the world, currently being the largest open air museum of contemporary art in the world! It includes about 500 pieces by 97 artists from 30 nationalities, such as Tunga, Yayoi Kusama, Anish Kapoor, Matthew Barney and Vik Muniz.
In addition to its extensive art collection, Inhotim also boasts an extensive botanical collection, with more than 4,500 native and exotic species, as well as the greatest palm tree collection in the world.
The art is scattered along the garden in more than two dozen art pavilions.
My favorite installation is “Forty part motet”, a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (2001). Forty separately recorded voices are played back through forty speakers strategically placed throughout the space. The recording of the sixteenth century Thomas Tallis motet makes for a wonderful journey into the world of sound!
Some better known installations are the three VW Beetles (Jarbas Lopes, 2002) and Cosmococas (Hélio Oiticica, Neville D’Almeida, 1973).
Inhotim, a museum like I have never experienced it before, it is definitely worth a visit and should not be missed by anyone visiting Belo Horizonte!
If you are interested in exploring Minas Gerais, especially Ouro Preto, check out our Rio de Janeiro & the Route of Gold Tour.
Please don’t hesitate to contact SouthAmerica.travel to find out how you can best create a Minas Gerais tour and its many attractions with your trip to South America!