The Pyramid Fountain was constructed in 1789 and supplied fresh water to both city residents and ships for 99 years. The location of the fountain marks the original shoreline, while the contour of the plaza as you see it today was not built out until the early 1900s.
Because collecting fresh water for homes was the work of enslaved Blacks and Africans, public fountains in the city became important hubs for communication. This was the public space where Black folks could meet and speak freely, not only amongst each other, but with sailors as well — to ask after lost relatives, plan rebellions, spread news, etc.
Interview with Nireu Cavalcanti (pt. 3 of 8)
What made Valentim develop his work in Rio de Janeiro?
From 1763, the city became host to the Viceroy and therefore, the capital of Brazil. The subsequent installation of a political, administratrive, military, legal and religious structures of the head of the colony starts to generate numerous jobs for artists from all areas. Many professionals from all over Brazil, and even from abroad, came to the city to take advantage of this.