2020 - Ongoing
Brazil, my country of birth, has been affected by the Covid pandemic in devastating ways and is the country with the second highest death rate in the world. The Amazon has been hit like no other area. During the lockdown in the UK I saw myself having to become a teacher for my three children.
While following schools' lessons, I watched from a safe UK home, the news of president Bolsonaro’s behaviour in relation to the pandemic and his government’s lack of response to containing the virus nationally, and deliberate attack to the Amazon and its people. The pandemic combined with the burning, deforestation and mining makes the region and its people extremely vulnerable and endangered.
I realised that my kids needed to learn of that reality. More than times tables, I wanted them to know that the Amazon and its people are in great danger. It moved me to print some of the images in my archive and, together, we transform them. In the process we discussed what are the threats and challenges facing the region. I hope to have sensitively educated my children to this imminent tragedy, while trying to articulate some of my own emotions felt in relation to the situation.
My children now know that the native Amazonian people have protected the forest for millennia.That their sacred land holds gold and other riches that the West seeks to extract.That the Brazilian president’s rhetoric in favor of developing the Amazon validates crimes and invasions.
Now they know about ecocide and genocide.
That clandestine gold miners cut through the forest bringing disease, displacing the earth and polluting rivers.
They know there is blood involved, and to represent it we created a formula of beetroot juice and paint. They know that fires are started before the soya and cattle comes.There was also burning of the paper to represent the burning of the forest.
While transforming these images with my children, and through their eyes, I could personally touch on the grief and sensation of impotence I feel for the fact that whole tribes can cease to exist. Yet I wanted to be reminded of the beauty of the moments I shared with such peoples and the forest. I wanted to find some hope in the process. I see the wisdom and purity of my children mirrored in that of the original peoples’. Our creative process over those images was instinctive and cathartic, free of technical restrains and boundaries. Full of playfulness and poetry.
I also hope our series can inspire other young people to learn, to ask questions and to love the habitat and the people I so love and that humanity cannot afford to lose. Just praying is not longer enough. .