Taurus da Bolsa already has security and protective tarpaulin at night after protests

SAO PAULO – Ancient Greece was full of bulls. Among the famous is the mythological Taurus of Crete, an imposing white specimen, a gift from Poseidon, god of the seas, to King Minos. Another legendary is his son, the Minotaur, a half-man, half-beast aberration, locked in the labyrinth built by the architect Daedalus. Both succumbed at the hands of classic heroes. The first, captured by Hercules, in the seventh of the famous 12 works. The second, killed by Theseus. They had a tragic but epic end. The same cannot be said of the Tupiniquim version of the animal that sprouted this week on a sidewalk in São Paulo. His glory was short-lived, beaten down by half a dozen memes, spray cans and a “cat barbecue”.

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It all started on Tuesday, when unsuspecting Paulistanos were surprised by a shiny peach-yellow bovine on Rua XV de Novembro, in front of the B3 building, the Stock Exchange. Installed under the institution’s own blessing, it would represent the “resilience” of the national investor. It was bad, especially at a time when the Brazilian economy suggests comparisons with more fragile mammals.

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Memes and graffiti

Protesters pasted a poster written hunger on the sculpture of the Golden Bull Photo: Roberto Casimiro/Fotoarena/17-11-2021
Protesters pasted a poster written hunger on the sculpture of the Golden Bull Photo: Roberto Casimiro/Fotoarena/17-11-2021

It didn’t take half an hour for social media to be swept up with jokes about the poor ruminant. They painted nicknames such as “Vaca Louca do Anhangabaú” (referring to the nearby public area in the Center of the city), “Borba Gado” (an allusion to another controversial statue in São Paulo, that of the pioneer Borba Gato) and “Touro da Cracolândia” (reminiscent of the proximity to the degraded region frequented by drug users).

The memes made fun of the country’s delicate financial situation. One of them showed the golden bull as a symbol of the stock exchange and a rough toy ox to represent the Brazilian’s investment capacity.

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The day after the inauguration, the virtual mockery was reinforced by the real attacks. The work dawned vandalized by lambe-lambes with the word “Hunger”. On social networks, the Fogo no Pavio collective claimed responsibility for the protest. In a statement, he stated that “the bull won the Brasil de Bolsonaro brand”.

Hours later, the golden “leather” was again targeted. This time, with the graffiti “Taxar os Ricos”, in a demonstration by Juntos, a collective of left-wing movements and student leaders. “It is part of the campaign that seeks to say that ‘neither the source nor the billionaires should exist,” he said in a statement. On Thursday, a barbecue organized next to the work by the group SP Invisível distributed meat skewers to passersby.

Removal pressure

There is already pressure to drive the cattle off the street. Leader of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) and pre-candidate for the government of São Paulo, Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) said he will go to court to remove the sculpture from the site, arguing that there was misuse of public space.

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As of late yesterday afternoon, the cleaning team hired by B3 had not removed the last graffiti from the statue, but received orders to try again overnight. The horn’s head also suffered scratches. Sought, B3 declined to comment on the matter.

In addition to social criticism, there are also artistic reprimands. On social media, there is a wide range of attacks on the aesthetics and anatomy of the newest ode to capital.

“This bull is poorly hamstrung, made of payphone material.” It won’t even last. Aesthetically, it is a symbol of today’s Brazil, even if it was not the author’s intention — says the visual artist and cartoonist Bruna Maia.

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As hectic as the days of the sculpture have been the journeys of the Exchange’s security guards charged with ensuring its integrity. Initially, B3 deployed a vigilante for the noble task. After concluding that the dangers were underestimated, two men began to escort the animal, 24 hours a day.

In addition, from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am, he was protected under a tarp and surrounded by bars. To GLOBO, B3 employees confided in their hope that the animal disappears right away, as no one wants to be a “bull babysitter”.

Touro became an attraction and scenario for selfies in downtown São Paulo Photo: Edilson Dantas
Touro became an attraction and scenario for selfies in downtown São Paulo Photo: Edilson Dantas

So much buzz has led to a surge in interest in selfies next to the new monument in São Paulo.

— I saw it on Instagram and decided to stop by. I think it’s beautiful, but I thought it was made of copper — says João Fortes, who arrived on a scooter after delivering an application.

There is also a crooked nose.

— It has nothing to do with our reality. At the opening, there were a lot of vulnerable people around, an absurd vision – says Flávia Bento, manager of a neighboring restaurant.

Although the creators deny the influence, the bull from São Paulo is obviously inspired by Charging Bull (attacking bull), his brother from New York. In financial grammar, the animal represents rising stocks, as its attacking movement is from the bottom up. The bear, which delivers top-down blows, illustrates the falling market.

O "Charging Bull" (challenging bull), located in New York Photo: Carlo Allegri/ 1/16/2019 / REUTERS
The “Charging Bull” (challenging bull), located in New York Photo: Carlo Allegri/ 16/01/2019 / REUTERS

A ton of fiberglass

Created by the Italian Arturo Di Modica, the American version emerged after Black Monday, in October 1987, when the Dow Jones index dropped 22.6%. It was installed in 1989. The Brazilian variant was born with the Ibovespa accumulating a 13.31% devaluation this year.

The New York forerunner, however, gleams on bronze, while its São Paulo pup balances itself in a modest fiberglass casing. With a ton, 5 meters in length and 3 meters in height, it came to life by the hands of the architect and plastic artist Rafael Brancatelli.

The local beef was idealized by economist Pablo Spyer, known for the catchphrase “Vai Tourinho” in financial education videos on social networks. It is not known what the cost of the artifact was, but the controversy over its existence is expected to continue. If he were alive, the playwright and journalist Nelson Rodrigues would probably say that “elastic bovine drool” hangs from this discussion.

* Contributed by Ivan Martínez-Vargas

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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