6th February 2014 Brasilia, Brazil

David Bowie is… very British – guest blog by Beatriz Correa

Earthling album cover - David Bowie
Earthling album cover – David Bowie/Credits: Frank W. Ockenfels

During the pre-opening of the “David Bowie is” exhibition for the press, Alex Ellis, British Ambassador to Brazil, began his speech by saying that Bowie is “international, global and ‘very British'”. The ambassador’s words made me think about how Bowie translates perfectly the reasons that make the UK, and the British culture as a whole, an agent with a worldwide appeal. Bowie is a tool of the British soft power and a British spokesman for the unique music, culture, creativity and innovation in the country. These are areas where the UK stands out and has expertise to collaborate and share experiences with Brazil.

The artist, known as the chameleon of the music world, represents the pluralism of the British music and art that influenced several generations. Icons such as the singer, that represents pop culture, are extremely valuable British voices since they reach audiences from many different backgrounds. The work of diplomacy means, among other things, to find these voices and use them as catalysts of the messages that we, as a mission, want to communicate.

The famous lightning bolt painted on Bowie’s face, on the cover of the album “Aladdin Sane”, is a symbol of strength similar to the British flag. He reflects the UK in the sense that both have a very strong and unique image, but difficult to define simultaneously. Eccentricity and breaking values are always associated with Bowie, at the same time that tolerance regarding the “different” is always exalted as a characteristic of Britain. The multicultural nature of Bowie speaks to a UK that lives diversity in its daily life.

David Bowie is
Part of ”David Bowie is’ exhibition /Credits: Vicente Gil/MIS

André Sturm, director of the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS), which host the exhibition about the singer in São Paulo, revealed that MIS was the first to show interest in receiving the Bowie memorabilia, making Brazil the first country in Latin America to host an exhibition organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Partnerships such as this demonstrate once again how times are prosperous for creative and artistic exchanges between Brazil and United Kingdom and that the possibilities of this relationship are endless and exciting.

Beatriz Corrêa joined the British Consulate-General in São Paulo in August 2012 as Press and Public Diplomacy Intern. She is in her senior year at the University of São Paulo – USP, where she studies Public Relations and is currently writing her dissertation on Nation Branding. Beatriz is a fan of movies, music and pop culture..specially if they come from Britain.

About Luana Seabra

Luana Seabra has an International Relations background, works with Communication and has quite an obsession for music-related things. She joined the Embassy in 2010 to work with Public Diplomacy, having…

Luana Seabra has an International Relations background, works with Communication and has quite an obsession for music-related things. She joined the Embassy in 2010 to work with Public Diplomacy, having previously worked in Itamaraty and UNODC. She is interested in Political Communications, Soft Power, Digital Diplomacy, Development and Human Rights.

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