Guerreira (Woman Warrior): Vik Birkbeck

Amongst the community of media activists in Rio, one of our dearest comrades is Vik (pictured above), who we like to call Guerreira (Woman Warrior).  Vik embodies what seem at first to be irreconcilable opposites: she is gentle and soft-spoken,  yet fearless and uncompromising in her activism.

Born in the UK in 1951, Vik moved to Brazil in 1975. Though she didn’t know it at the time, she is still living there 40 years later. In the 1980s, Vik was actively filming and photographing the Black Resistance movement in the North Eastern state of Bahia, and last year was awarded a prestigious award by the internationally acclaimed Afro-Brazilian cultural group Olodum for this early activism.

Vik is 63 years old, a point that is hardly worth mentioning because she’s so well integrated in the activist community composed of mostly young people, but I mention it only because it is so impressive!  As you can see from the above picture, Vik is well and truly a fearless guerreira – she is an inspiration and has become a dear friend. Please check out this excellent article Vik wrote about the forced evictions for, featuring an illustration by Luciano Cunha:

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