Meet Marcus Ba, artist, painter, musician, Gemini, capoeirista, and home cook. He has been living in Itacaré since he was one year old. His family followed his talented grandmother here.
Marcus, what is your first memory of Itacaré?
A place with really good energy but there was havoc in the streets, on Pituba actually. The police were destroying people’s homes … mainly poor people … forcing them out. This was twenty-eight years ago, I was five. The locals shared everything. Conflicts existed but it was always peaceful in the end.
Itacaré has been exploited greatly. The town itself wasn’t ready for this type of exploitation and growth. The mentality of the people who arrived was totally opposite of the people indigenous to the land. People were living off the land and the ocean. Life was easy and free back then. I also remember the beautiful beaches and playing with my friends.
After this response, I knew I was in for an enlightening afternoon.
How long have you been painting and playing music?
I used to make my own instruments to play at home when I was a little boy. Then I joined my cousin’s percussion group called Filhos de Jah. And drawing and painting has been a constant. So all of my life … I have been making art since I was able.
Marcus’ cousin is Zé Rasta who currently lives on the border of Rio de Contas not far from Itacaré.
Are you a Rastafarian?
No, I’m not a Rasta in the religious sense but I have compassion for Rastafarianism. I also have great respect for nature and my body.
A place beautiful for its nature, the quality of life it offers, and the people who live here.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
South Africa because I think it’s closest to the culture here in Bahia. Ethiopia because it’s the birthplace of humanity. And Canada because I suspect they have a good quality of life.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Porto Atrais, just outside of Itacaré center on Rua Novo Brasilia. I live with my family. My mother has been here most of her life. My whole family is respected and loved. My mom is a genuine spirit, very pure. She and I have a spiritual connection.
I can vouch for Marcus, his family is adorable. After a brief chat in front of his booth at the Artesano center, we walked to his house and he prepared the most yummy lunch. Then I met his mother, sister, brother, and his adorable nephew. His family runs a little store in the front of their home while Marcus paints away the day and plays music whenever possible.
After lunch, we randomly stopped by a neighbor’s house. Marcus walked in, picked up an electric guitar, and started jamming with two guys who had been practicing. They were clearly impressed by his musical prowess — as was I.
What I admire most about Marcus is his committed to his art. He has been suporting himself solely on his art for the past 12 years. He lives truthfully and trusts in nature every step of the way. Most of his paintings incorporate waves, plants, trees, the ocean, and scenes from the local culture. I usually visit Marcus at his booth at night and practice my Portuguese while he practices his English. He is currently studying at Easy 2 Speak, the local English school.