On July 20, 2023, the Department of Art and Preservation of the School of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ, inaugurated the first spaces to allocate the Laboratories for Conservation and Restoration of Sculpture (LaPECRE), Paper (LabPEL), Painting, from the Bachelor degree in Conservation and Restoration, through a great event held at the Samira Mesquita Auditorium (Blue room) in the Jorge Machado Moreira Building – JMM. The laboratory spaces have annexes, highlighting a room for volumetric reintegration, for examinations with special lights, application of varnishes, a technical reserve, and finally, a deposit for the storage and disposal of chemical products. Fundamental spaces for research, teaching and extension at the University and for training future professionals in the area of Preservation of Cultural Heritage, which will be recorded in the History of Conservation-Restoration in Brazil. The laboratory project was carried out by COPRIT-ETU (Preservation of Listed Properties of UFRJ) and supported by the Rectory of UFRJ (2019-2022), Center for Letters and Arts (2018-2022) and Board of the School of Fine Arts. The event was attended by UFRJ Students, Graduates, Professors, Conservators-Restorers, Directors, Deans and Employees, around 200 people. A brief history was presented by the Head of the Department on the route to conquering the spaces and then a statement from the Dean in office in the period (2018-2022) Cristina Grafanassi Tranjan, denoting the challenges and the teacher’s effort for this achievement.
The highlight of the inauguration were the tributes to the department head Benvinda de Jesus Ferreira Ribeiro, who received plaques of thanks from the professors of the course, and, in particular, from the students, with the following description: “This space was named at the request of the students in honor of to the teacher who idealized and achieved this achievement with hard work and dedication”. The space being named as “Center of Laboratories of the Conservation and Restoration Course – EBA-UFRJ – BENVINDA DE JESUS FERREIRA RIBEIRO”.
In addition to the plaques, a banner was presented in honor of the teacher, who was very sensitive and creative, with the words “Sejam todos BENVINDA!” (“Welcome everyone”, in reference to the name of the honored professor), created by students in the first period of the course. After the ceremony, everyone visited the laboratories and returned to the fraternization party and celebration of this achievement, with great joy! Finally, we recorded the testimony of the graduate of the course “César Casemiro”, knowledgeable of the teacher’s journey to build a course of excellence, corroborated by this achievement and of the student “Rafaela Saboia” who participated in the entire process for the inauguration.
Testimony of the former student, César Casimiro:
I entered the UFRJ Restoration Conservation course in 2012, as part of one of the first groups of students. At that moment, the course experienced a contrast between the will to do, to have the best and the great structural difficulties encountered. We already had an excellent teaching staff, which over the years has enriched itself to become excellent, however, the challenges were gigantic. In this scenario of love for the profession and adversities, we students and professors were facing a lot of work, on the one hand trying to pursue bigger dreams and waiting for the time of the processes at the public university, and on the other hand working with the resources we had at the time. I, a student, witnessed this daily battle between administrative technicians, teachers and students, all done with the certainty that we would achieve our goals. That’s how I met Professor Benvinda when I started taking the course she was responsible for and from that moment on I started to have admiration and respect for her work, she was never discouraged in anything, she created ideas, projects, encouraged students to research, to have a theoretical basis and taught us ethics and respect for professional conservators/restorers. On the singular morning of July 20, the blue floor that leads us to the entrance to the great Blue Room in the Jorge Machado Moreira building was illuminated by the presence of numerous guests who participated in the inauguration ceremony of three new laboratories of the Conservation and Restoration course. All there moved by the emotion of witnessing a historic moment, the result of a common dream, but made possible only by the work and perseverance of Professor Benvinda de Jesus, who brought everyone together and left an indelible mark on the history of the two-century EBA. I witnessed dozens of students ecstatic with the joy of being able to pay homage to such a dear teacher and also being sure that from that day on, our course would offer excellent facilities for work, study and research. Deservedly, the devotion to work of our, Benvinda received a fair tribute. Your name is already the synthesis of your personality. How can you not feel “welcome”? How can you not feel so welcomed in your classes? Certainly the creation of these new spaces that will guarantee not only the present, but the future of the Conservation and Restoration bachelor’s degree, is the result of her sweat, of her work, as I witnessed the long hours that Benvinda spent organizing the impressions, shedding the sweat of her face in a work of great determination and commitment. Benvinda will always be a point of reference for everyone who knows her about what it means to be an impartial, serious and generous professional. This is just one step towards the great challenges that Conservation faces in Brazil, however, the EBA course certainly could not be in better hands.
Testimony of the student Rafaela Saboia
I Rafaela Saboia, an undergraduate student of the course in Conservation and Restoration at the School of Fine Arts of UFRJ, recognize the dedication, persistence and insistence of PhD Professor Benvinda de Jesus Ferreira Ribeiro in providing, through her work, a pleasant and safe environment for the realization of laboratory classes of the course. Since the delivery of the keys to the laboratories by the construction company, the practical work to revitalize the furniture, the ceramic floor covering and all the details of the space has become intense and constant. There were about three months, from Monday to Saturday, of recovery, maintenance, cleaning and relocation activities of the equipment for the new space, highlighting the help of students who actively participated in this process. Always thinking about the well-being of teachers and students who will enjoy this new achievement of the course, Profa. Benvinda was tireless in making the dream of the laboratories a reality.