Friday, February 23, 2007
In the 1970's and particularly in 1975,the political climate in Brazil wasvery dangerous.Writers,journalist,musicians,artists,intellectuals,
were persecuted by the military government.
Many left the country and a number of them were murdered,like in the case of the journalist Wladimir Herzog.
Herzog,was a gentle person,with social concerns,being also a Holocaust survivor.He was framed.
He was the director of TV Cultura in Sao Paulo,when he was approached by undercover officials,about doing a freelance writing job,when in fact he was taken out from his office at the station and murdered.
The official information for 25 years or so ,was that he commited suicide.
He was strangled.
At the same time,I was asked to create ananimated title sequence for a TV Cultura children's program .
I come up with a little pig playing with a heart.
Soon after I received a visit , from an official of the military government,in my home.
He wanted to know what was the meaning of the pig.
I told him,that I just fancied to draw pigs,and that there was no
He was quite stern and advised me that I would be watched.
In the meantime,I was corresponding with the NYTimes editor and Mr.Herdeg,who strongly supported the idea that I should better leave Brazil and go to New York...
I thought then,that although I had already reached a succesfull position in my career in Brazil,having a proposal by a businessman to upstart an animation studio I would be risking a lot.
I was also trying to invest in a live and work place ,my dream of owning my little roof over my head.
On a sudden whim,as I did three years before,by leaving Australia,where I had returned to,in 1970 and back to Brazil in 1973,
I got tickets and brought my mother along , with me to New York.
I was certain,that I would just work , and continue on my path to become a world known cartoonist.
I love the newspaper world and did not have a single worry about facing the challenge.
My art was always my passport, opening doors for me socially and professionaly.
And I love to interact with the public.I need the feedback.
To be behind the curtain,and have my characters ,my vision,my art "talk" with the viewer.
Something scary happened to me,when I was leaving my apartment in Sao Paulo, towards the airport.
I had mentioned only to one person about my idea of going to work in New York.
And I wished I had followed the advise of the travel agent.
He strongly recommended,that I should rather take the scene,by going to the beach,meaning,that instead of Manhattan I should head to the Hamptons first.
Well so much for my anxiety.
I was too focused on getting myself started.
My mother was my dependent and I was concerned about her.mostly.
My telephone rang.
Someone ,who would not identify himself, told me that he was in the cell or the same prison where Wladimir Herzog was tortured and murdered,and that I,Marguerita is leaving the country injured ,should convey to the world about what is happening in Brazil.
So,I travelled all the way,wondering who and why that was done to me.
We landed on a Saturday,in New York ,when the Centennial week was taking place.
I ran into the ex- President of Brazil,Jucelino Kubitchek and his wife Dona Sara in the elevator of the hotel.
On Monday I dashed to the New York Times.
I figured out already how Manhattan is layed out.
Mr. Silverstein,with whom I was corresponding ,to my disappointment,was not going to be there for a week.
Concerned that I would be running out of money,as I was able to take very little from my bank account in Brazil,and considering Mr.Silverstein,my principal connection in New York,as he mentioned that I would be working with Steve Heller in his letters to me,I went ahead to work with Heller.