Celebrating 15 Years of Naturism in the Amazon

Naturism in Brazil may not yet be a widely held philosophy, but it does at least have a well-established national federation with clubs and parks that have been around for decades, and new groups still forming. Most of these parks and groups are located in southeastern Brazil, where the majority of the population lives, and in southern Brazil, an area with many people of European heritage. Even though northern Brazil has a strong indigenous presence, with its history of native populations wearing little to no clothing, there is not much recognition of naturism in that region. The shining exception, however, is GRAUNA, a naturist group founded by my friend Jorge Bandeira fifteen years ago in Manaus, capital of Brazil’s largest state, Amazonas.

Yours truly with Jorge Bandeira at GRAUNA’s
frequent locale in Amazonas state, July 2011 

GRAUNA stands for Grupo Amazônico União Naturista, and they are a non-landed club with a regular locale for monthly gatherings a short way outside the city. Bandeira is a theater educator and activist who will occasionally plan cultural events promoting naturism in Manaus, one of Brazil’s largest cities. These events have included nude theater performances and happenings, the presentation of poetry and prose on naturism, as well as (clothed) street manifestations. Bandeira has also become a leader not just in Manaus but in Brazil in general in normalizing what naturism means, even while recognizing the irony of having to re-educate a public of considerable indigenous heritage about the benefits of being naked in nature.

Nature-Friendship-Tranquility-Union
-Respect-Equality-Simplicity-Mindfulness-Pride

In late July of this year, to celebrate the group’s fifteenth year going strong, Bandeira and other GRAUNA leaders organized events not only at their Amazon forest locale, but also in the center of Manaus, at the Casarão de Idéias cultural center not far from the city’s landmark Teatro Amazonas.

GRAUNA’s usual location for naturist gatherings,
with the INF definition of naturism in Portuguese
Casarão de Idéias, location for GRAUNA’s
15-Year Commemorative events in Manaus
Ribeiro, Bandeira and other naturists
in front of the iconic Teatro Amazonas

The broadsheet announcing the list of commemorative events, seen below, shows speakers such as Bandeira himself along with Pedro Ribeiro, who is the current president of the Brazilian Naturist Federation as well as a major defender of naturist use of Rio de Janeiro’s Abricó beach and the founder of an online source of naturist information in Portuguese, Jornal Olho Nu. Another speaker was Waldo Andrade, one of the founders of a relatively new naturist space, Ecovila da Mata in Bahia state, a community that functions with as much ecological responsibility and as little environmental impact, as possible. Other events in the impressive line-up included a photo gallery and book display, film viewings, nude theater, and the presentation of a naturist-themed cordel (popular poetry style) and naturist fanzine.

You can see in the photos below, all used by permission, some of the speakers and attendants, and several representations of the group’s logo of a nude couple with the graúna bird, a kind of blackbird native to the area whose name also forms the group’s acronym.

Current GRAUNA president Iva Santos,
founder Jorge Bandeira,
current federation president Pedro Ribeiro
In its fifteen years, GRAUNA has had many members and several presidents, and they have all helped Jorge Bandeira lead the way with his extraordinary energy and dedication to naturism. He is the inspiration for one of the characters, and some of the scenes, in my novel Aglow. I continue to look to Bandeira as a paragon of naturism, whose leadership shows clearly in the impressive organization of this commemorative programming. Congratulations, GRAUNA! Parabéns pelos quinze anos de representação naturista ativa! Here’s to many more years of naturist presence and advocacy!

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