Yabás Market: small thoughts

Mia Couto, in his book Sleepwalking Land, wrote: “If I ever take the chance, I shall take with me the road that does not allow me to leave me”.

Madureira is a district of many entrances, and I find myself at the Portela Road, through where runs a river that travels across my life, and where my camera was hijacked by the Yabás Market. The market happens at the Paulo Portela Square – a symbolic space that houses the headquarters of the Velha Guarda da Portela – and counts 16 stands of typical food from Rio suburbs and Afro-Brazilian cuisine, all served by Yabás. The term Yabá comes from the African Yoruba dialect, and can be translated as “mother”, “lady” or “she who feeds her children”. In the African religion, Yabás are female orishas, represented by Nanã, Iansã, Oxum, Obá and Yemanjá, among others. The Yabás Market stems from this female reference as a tribute to the Madureira matriarchs – traditional women from the community who have a strong connection to samba, known as “samba aunts”.

While taking photos, I was captivated by the details of the people there and of the place itself. Details of many significations converted into little affective thoughts about “ties and feelings of belonging” – as said by Michel Maffesoli – and revealed the emotion caused by the appropriation of the place. At the Yabás Market it feels like everything is familiar, like a Sunday lunch.