When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

The Invasion Of Symbolism, From Guernica To Invader

Cubism and Rubickscubism
Cubism and Rubickscubism
Bertrand Hauger


"This bull is a bull and this horse is a horse," Spanish-born painter Pablo Picasso once said of his iconic 1937 painting Guernica.

Eighty years later, the horrifying depiction of the Spanish Civil War bombing of a Basque town — history's first attack from the air on a civilian population — stands as one of the great explicitly political works of art. But back then, art critics had been eager to find interpretations for the sprawling expressionist work.

Picasso added, "If you give a meaning to certain things in my paintings it may be very true, but it is not my idea to give this meaning." Is Guernica a metaphor for the battle between the masculine and the feminine — perhaps a glimpse into the life of the artist? You decide, says the painter.

In present-day Paris, a great-grandchild of Picasso's Cubism has made its way to the walls of the capital: Invader's Rubickubism, a mode of expression in tune with our pixelated times. With 1279 pop-culture-themed mosaics (and still counting) across the city, Invader has become ubiquitous in Paris. His moniker, a nod to Space Invaders — the 1978 arcade video game whose purpose was, coincidentally, to defeat waves of threatening aliens. Danger still comes from above, indeed.

Invader, whose tiled critters have recently crawled their way from Paris onto the walls of Marrakesh, may not be as politically motivated as Picasso (or say, UK artist Banksy), but symbolism is still very much at work. His Star Wars and video games characters, though less tortured than Guernica's agonizing bull and horse, testify to the invasive presence of technology in modern society. "I am into artistic experimentation rather than political opposition," says Invader. "This project, I hope, will leave a print not only on the streets but also on the minds."

Sometimes a bull is just a bull, and sometimes a spaceship is more than a spaceship.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest