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Transmitting the cultural heritage of the region of Missions through an itinerant exhibition (Brazil)

The itinerant exhibition “Seven People, a Portrait of a Territory” aims to educate and share the history, culture and heritage of the Brazilian territory of Missions. The initiative is part of an ongoing project developed by the National Institute for Historic and Artistic Heritage, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency and UNESCO to strengthen the management of Jesuit and missionary heritage, especially related to Guaranis, Moxis and Chiquitos people. 

The itinerant exhibition “Seven People, a Portrait of a Territory” is an initiative to raise awareness and deepen knowledge about the Brazilian territory of Missions, including its geography, history and socio-political and cultural life.

The exhibition forms part of the South-South Cooperation Project Cultural itineraries of the Jesuit missions of Guaranis, Moxos and Chiquitos in Mercosul: institutional strengthening towards its definition and development, developed by the National Institute for Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and UNESCO. This project aims to promote the institutional strengthening of the National Institutions responsible for management of Jesuit and missionary heritage, especially related to Guaranis, Moxos and Chiquitos people, ranging Mercosur countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The exhibition was inaugurated in 2019 in the city of São Miguel Arcanjo, home of the World Heritage property Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil). The same year, the exhibition was displayed in the city of Porto Alegre, in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2020, the exhibition was postponed due to the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the installation travelled to the Cultural Centre Paço Imperial in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The exhibition presents an overview of the cultural itinerary of the Missões region, through historical, cultural, environmental and socioeconomic analysis, and the different heritage values present, both tangible and intangible. The narrative focuses on the diversity of communities that occupied the region, such as Guaranis, Quilombolas, missionary gauchos, and descendants from Portugal, Polish, Italian and German colonies. The exhibition is composed by photographs, audio-visual content, cartographic documents, and educational and technological resources. A catalogue and a book on art education were also produced. 

In 2021, the exhibition was scheduled to take place in Montevideo, Uruguay. However, due to the ongoing health concerns, the exhibition has been moved to a virtual formal. Carrying out the exhibition virtually will increase the reach of the project across the different countries of the Mercosur region. The online exhibition, which will be available soon, will continue to be expanded and developed in order to widely disseminate its contents and the knowledge acquired on the South-South cooperation project. 

Source: UNESCO National Office to Brazil, 2021

Contribution towards Sustainable Development

If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could have the potential to contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

  • Target 4.7: the initiative aims to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Target 11.4: the initiative aims to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

  • Target 17.9: the initiative is part of enhanced international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support the implementation of the sustainable development goals, through South-South cooperation.
  • Target 17.16: the initiative is part of a global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.
To learn more


UNESCO National Office to Brazil. unesco.org/fieldoffice/brasilia

Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.