Quaterly Journal of the Worldwide Kite Community
Spring-Summer 1994, vol. 10 Nº 4
Kites are mainly a simple traditional game for kids in Brazil. Yet by mastering the sponsoring and media systems, Silvio Voce, who lives in São Paulo, the economic capital of Brazil, has become a kind of nationwide “Mr. Kite”.
Born in 1961 in an Italian Brazilian Family, he was just like millions of other kids there: he used to fly fighter kites and even built some for sale to make some pocket money.
After working during seven years in the national airline as a ground maintenance technician, he chose in 1983 to turn his passio for kites into a full-time occupation. Organizing kite events, exhibits and workshops for children all over Brazil, he gradually built up a team, from 4 to 20 friends, to work with him.
In 1986, Equipe Silvio Voce was officially born. Travelling around the vast country, to schools, art centers and shopping malls, the entourage has taught several hundred thousand children every year how to make and fly simple kites. (In 1986 alone, 600.000 children attended these workshops!)
Since the beginning, Silvio has been sponsored by several private companies: a radio station, a paper factory, an adhesive tape maker, a kite manufacturer, and Coats Corrente, a major company which produces cotton thread.
The reason in Silvio’s work is that he has a proven sucess record with the media. Think of this: in 1991 alone, Silvio was interviewed or reported 72 times by various TV channels; he made 36 radio interviews and the major topic for 4 magazine feature articles – and all this does not even take into account the many articles in local or national papers. Almost always, the sponsor’s brands are mentioned or seen, so this turns out to be a good deal for both sides.
The media success of Silvio of course inspired other Brazilian kitemakers, but until now none has been able to achieve the same scope, although some may be just as professional as far as kites are concerned. Lately, Silvio Voce has been involved in too many workshops, travels, festivals and publications to actually find the time to create new kites.
In 1988, the São Paulo Cultural Center exhibited 40 kites designed and made by Voce. They were directly inspired by traditional Afro-Brazilian indigenous masks of the baikiri tribe. Most of the kites were sold, mainly to Japanese, American and European tourists visiting the exhibit. Similar to works of some North American kitemakers who adapt traditional American Indian graphics and shapes to their kites, they show how strong, attractive and meaningful are the designs of the native Indian civilizations.